PGC offers season changes

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners preliminarily approved hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2018-19 license year.

Modifications proposed for the 2018-19 seasons include: eliminating the hen pheasant restriction in some Wildlife Management Units; implementing a new four-day extended black bear firearms season in two WMUs; increasing from four days to six days the length of the extended black bear firearms season in WMU 3A; extending hunting hours for mourning doves from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset in all season segments; and opening WMUs 4B and 4C to fisher trapping.

The public may offer comments on all proposed 2018-19 seasons and bag limits, as well as other board actions, between now and the board’s next quarterly meeting, when 2018-19 seasons and bag limits will be finalized, and antlerless license allocations will be determined.

The PGC adopted a slate of deer seasons for 2018-19, proposing a split, five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 26-Nov. 30) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 1-8) in 20 Wildlife Management Units, including 4D and 4B, which encompass Mifflin, Juniata, Perry and most of Snyder counties. The package also retains the two-week (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D.

Hunters with Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) antlerless deer permits may use the permits on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season, and will continue to be permitted to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 26-Dec. 8 in 4B and 4D. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.90 for residents and $35.90 for nonresidents.

DMAP permits also may be transferred to Mentored Hunting Program participants.

The board retained antler restrictions in place for adult and senior license holders since the 2011-12 seasons. It remains the “three-up” on one side, not counting a brow tine, provision for the western Wildlife Management Units of 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D, and the three points on one side in all other WMUs. Exempt from these antler restrictions are mentored youth hunters, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active-duty military on leave.

The board for the second consecutive year preliminarily approved a conservative, midweek fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Unit 5B. All recommendations on fall turkey season length are made in accordance with guidelines in the Game Commission’s Wild Turkey Management Plan.

With final approval at the board’s next quarterly meeting, the fall season in WMU 4B would be one week (Oct. 27-Nov. 3), plus a three-day Thanksgiving season (Nov. 22-24). In WMU 4D the season would be Oct. 27-Nov. 10 and Nov. 22-24.

For the 2019 spring gobbler season, which is proposed to run from April 27-May 31, the board continued with legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from April 27-May 11, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon; and from May 13-31, hunters may hunt all day, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

The board proposed holding the one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt on April 20, 2019, which will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. All junior license holders and Mentored Youth Hunting Program permit holders can participate in this special half-day hunt, as well as the other spring season dates.