Some seniors now exempt from pheasant permit

HARRISBURG — Any Pennsylvania hunter who held a senior lifetime hunting or combination license prior to May 13, 2017, will not need to purchase a pheasant permit to hunt pheasants in the 2018-19 license year.

The pheasant permit was created last year as a way to help offset the costs of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s pheasant propagation program. In its first year, the $26.90 permit was required for all adult and senior pheasant hunters, including senior lifetime license buyers.

Adult pheasant hunters still will need to purchase the permit; junior pheasant hunters will need a free permit in 2018-19.

The pheasant permit was one of several initiatives by the Game Commission to make the pheasant propagation program more cost-effective. The agency in recent years closed two of its four pheasant farms, and began purchasing day-old chicks from private propagators rather than carrying over breeding pheasants and raising chicks from eggs.

Through these measures the annual costs of the program have been reduced from about $4.7 million to about $2.3 million. Additionally, the pheasant permit in its first year generated more than $1.1 million to help offset those costs.

Commissioners said the reduced overall costs of the program have made it easier to grandfather-in those pheasant hunters who held senior lifetime licenses at the time the permit became official.

Sunday hunting

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners reaffirmed its support of legislative action that would allow for expanded Sunday hunting opportunities.

The resolution adopted by the board is in response to a direct request from the nonprofit group Hunters United for Sunday Hunting, a representative of which testified to the board during Monday’s quarterly meeting.

The resolution is at least the third the Board of Game Commissioners has adopted over the years in support of expanded Sunday hunting.

Junior pheasant

permit

By quantifying youth participation, permit could help bring federal dollars to program. As a result, commissioners adopted a measure that requires junior hunters to obtain a free pheasant permit to hunt pheasants in Pennsylvania.

Previously, junior hunters did not need a permit, which is required for adult and some senior hunters who pursue pheasants.

Issuance of a free permit to junior hunters will help the Game Commission quantify the number of youth participating in pheasant hunting annually — data that might entitle the agency to additional funding for its pheasant program through federal hunter recruitment funding initiatives.

The measure adopted by the board also removes the requirement to obtain a permit for individuals hunting and taking privately acquired propagated pheasants on private lands. The exemption does not apply to private lands designated by agreement as cooperative access lands, and all pheasants hunted taken or possessed through this exemption need to be appropriately banded, tagged, marked or receipted.

Semiautomatic

shotguns

Permitted for years in Special Regulations Areas, semiautomatic slug guns get statewide approval. Semiautomatic centerfire shotguns that propel single-projectile ammunition will be lawful sporting arms in most of Pennsylvania’s firearms deer, bear and elk seasons in 2018-19.

For elk, the shotgun needs to be 12-gauge or larger.

Baiting permits

Commissioners eliminated the need for landowners in the Southeast Special Regulations Area to secure a baiting permit before setting up a bait site to hunt deer on private property.

While the use of bait while hunting is prohibited broadly in Pennsylvania, it is allowed conditionally on private property within the Southeast Special Regulations Area, where traditional hunting and deer-control methods have proven ineffective and a large deer herd frequently leads to property damage.

Previously, private landowners in the Southeast Special Regulations Area needed to secure a permit before they or others could follow these guidelines to hunt deer through the use of bait. While there’s no longer a requirement to obtain a permit, landowners and the persons they permit to hunt still need to ensure bait sites comply with regulations.

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