PenBlogs

Chesapeake Bay nutrient imbalance must be addressed

The problem plaguing the Chesapeake Bay is widely known and obvious, according to a crops and soils expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. But after decades of trying to save the famous estuary by spending billions of dollars on pollution-control measures, we have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go to solve…

Christmas 2010 Bird Count

Some hunters and anglers miss the boat when they are unwilling to participate in other non-hunting or non-fishing outdoor activities.  In early January, my daughter, her husband, and I were part of the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission encourages participation. It was our third year. We have an assigned territory within the Bald Eagle State Park…

Famous Benezette town bull dead

One of the most famous residents in Pennsylvania’s northcentral region died Jan. 7, but you may not have seen an obituary. That’s because he was an elk. Nicknamed “Freddy” by local residents and wearing Game Commission research collar #36, the big bull has hung out in and around the Elk County village of Benezette for 18 years… You read that…

Watching the deer and wondering

I recently had the opportunity to observe a group of deer feeding undisturbed through the forest.  I watched these deer for nearly an hour as they meandered here and there. I’m always interested in what the deer are eating, and as a hunter, you should be, too.Our acorns are long gone. As I observed with binoculars, the deer reached high…

Deer Study Yields Interesting, Puzzling Results

It simply defies logic.An ongoing study by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to gauge the impact of the split buck and doe rifle season has yielded some interesting, and puzzling, data.Jim Stickles, the PGC’s field crew leader in charge of the study in Wildlife Management Unit 3C, told me last week that despite having trapped and radio-collared 91 more antlerless deer…

Time to Praise Wildlife Officials

Here’s a novel approach: In an age where it’s the norm to criticize our state wildlife agencies for everything under the sun (sometimes deserved, sometimes not), one of those agencies would actually like us to let them know when one of their own has done a good job. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has a new section on its…

Poachers in broad daylight

Now that the two-week rifle deer season has ended, it would be easy for me to write my first blog about how many deer I did, or didn’t, see. It’s something everyone talks about at the end of the deer season. Instead, I’m going to tell you about something I saw more of this season. A facet of deer hunting…

Bear Season Questions

The 2010 bear season is history. The results, with a much lower than expected kill, beg more questions than answers. Did the altered format, with a Saturday opening day, increase or decrease hunter participation? Were more school-age hunters involved? Are hunters happy with the change?While the Game Commission claims higher bear license sales, there were widespread pre-season reports of long-time…

Squirrels abound in state’s forests and woodlots, PGC says

Harrisburg — If there’s one game animal that could use some additional attention in Pennsylvania, it’s squirrels. Pennsylvania Game Commission field officers report squirrel populations are strong in most areas of the state. Gray squirrels continue to be found across Pennsylvania in sizeable numbers, and the black-phase gray squirrel isn’t hard to find north of Interstate-80 and east of the…

Squirrels abound in state’s forests and woodlots, PGC says

Harrisburg — If there’s one game animal that could use some additional attention in Pennsylvania, it’s squirrels. Pennsylvania Game Commission field officers report squirrel populations are strong in most areas of the state. Gray squirrels continue to be found across Pennsylvania in sizeable numbers, and the black-phase gray squirrel isn’t hard to find north of Interstate-80 and east of the…

PGC director stresses agency supports law limiting searches

Harrisburg — Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe wanted to make it very clear – his agency supports the recent enactment of House Bill 181, which reduces search and seizure powers of wildlife conservation officers to the same as other law-enforcement officers in the state. In a written statement he issued recently, Roe attempted to “put to rest, hopefully…

Bait may be allowed on ‘Red Tag’ farms in the southeast

Harrisburg- To further the Game Commission’s efforts to find effective tools to manage the deer populations on agriculture lands in the southeast corner of the state, commissioners took action at their recent quarterly meeting. They gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to create a focused, limited authorization permitting the use of bait for deer hunting in wildlfe management units…

PGC expects average grouse hunting overall

Harrisburg — With favorable late spring/early summer weather conditions across much of the state, Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists expect ruffed grouse hunting to be average to slightly above average – where good habitat exists – for the more than 100,000 hunters who annually pursue these challenging game birds. The opening day of the state’s three-part grouse season is Saturday, Oct….

Big Game Scoring book available in hard copy

Harrisburg — Copies of the 2010 Pennsylvania Big Game Records are available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission online at The Outdoor Shop, www.pgc.state.pa.us, or call 1-888-888-3459, or mail your remittance to: PA Game Commission, Dept. MS, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797. The book costs $5, which includes sales tax, plus $1.25 shipping and handling. For additional information, contact Pennsylvania Big…

Game Commission announces pheasant-stocking plans

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Game Commission has slated 108,000 ring-necked pheasants for release on public lands throughout the commonwealth for the upcoming small game hunting seasons, including 16,800 birds for the junior only season (Oct. 9-16). “Based on agency’s budget cuts first implemented in the 2004-05 fiscal year and carried forward since, we reduced our pheasant propagation program by 50 percent,”…

Game Commission tells motorists to watch out for deer

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Game Commission today advised motorists to slow down after sundown and before sunrise to reduce their risk of having a close encounter with a white-tailed deer. Deer collisions are an annual occurrence that will continue through Thanksgiving week and begin to slow down in mid-December. For the sake of public safety, the commission is urging motorists to drive…

Pa. pulls welcome mat back from poachers

Harrisburg — Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl  Roe said, starting today, the commonwealth has begun to reverse its reputation of being a state with minimal risks for chronic poachers as new penalties — including higher fines and possible jail time — go into effect. “Some chronic or commercial poachers considered Pennsylvania’s previous fines as merely a ‘cost of doing business,’”…

Game Commissioners to meet in Wilkes Barre Oct. 4-5

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will hold its next meeting on Oct. 4-5, at the Quality Inn, 880 Kidder St., Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County. A copy of the agenda for the upcoming meeting will be posted on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) prior to the meeting, and will be able to be viewed by clicking on the “Next Commissioners’ Meeting”…

PGC to hold drawing for elk licenses Sept. 10

Harrisburg — Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe said the agency’s public drawing for the 2010 elk hunting licenses will be webcast beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 10. To view the drawing, a “Live Elk Drawing” icon will be posted on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) for individuals to click on and watch the drawing. In order to watch…

Game Commission seeks citizen advisory committee volunteers

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Game Commission is calling for nominations of citizens willing to participate in one of four Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) to help gather input related to the deer management goal of reducing deer-human conflict in three Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in 2011. Those WMUs identified for next year are: WMU 2D, which consists of areas in Armstrong, Butler,…

Waterfowl seasons and bag limits

DUCKS: Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 25-Jan. 1. North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 11-Jan. 4. Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 6-Dec. 30. South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-16 and Nov. 17-Jan. 17. Total Duck Bag Limits: 6…

By land or by sea, waterfowlers urged to keep safety in mind

Harrisburg — Whether hunting from shore or from a boat, waterfowlers are urged to keep safety first and foremost in mind, said Keith Snyder, Pennsylvania Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. "Basic firearm and hunting safety are critical," Snyder said. "Treat every firearm as if it is loaded and make sure that the muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction….

Waterfowl hunters cautioned about eating mergansers

Harrisburg — To minimize potential health impacts, it's suggested that hunters don't eat merganser ducks, especially those harvested in the Lake Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania hunting zones. Studies conducted over the past two decades on Pennsylvania and New York mergansers, especially common and red-breasted mergansers in the Lake Erie region, have concluded they may have varying levels of contaminants, including…