Pa. Game Commission Approves 2016-17 Hunting/Trapping Seasons

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.32.11 AMHARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today set hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2016-17 license year, which begins July 1.

A list of all seasons and bag limits appears at the end of this news release.

The commissioners also set the number of antlerless deer licenses to be allocated, as well as the number of elk licenses to be allocated for the coming license year.

The board voted to allocate 748,000 antlerless deer licenses statewide. Allocations by Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) are as follows, with the allocation from the previous license year appearing in parentheses: WMU 1A – 46,000 (46,000); WMU 1B – 29,000 (29,000); WMU 2A – 43,000 (43,000); WMU 2B – 61,000 (61,000); WMU 2C – 31,000 (31,000); WMU 2D – 55,000 (55,000); WMU 2E – 21,000 (21,000); WMU 2F – 22,000 (22,000); WMU 2G – 21,000 (22,000); WMU 2H – 6,000 (6,500); WMU 3A – 15,000 (19,000); WMU 3B – 28,000 (28,000);WMU 3C – 36,000 (36,000); WMU 3D – 25,000 (25,000); WMU 4A – 30,000 (30,000); WMU 4B – 26,000 (26,000); WMU 4C – 25,000 (25,000); WMU 4D – 34,000 (33,000); WMU 4E – 25,000 (25,000); WMU 5A – 19,000 (19,000); WMU 5B – 50,000 (50,000); WMU 5C – 70,000 (70,000); and WMU 5D – 30,000 (24,000).

Hunters should note the boundaries again have changed for WMUs 5C and 5D.

Hunting licenses for 2016-17 go on sale in mid-June and become effective July 1. After hunters purchase a general hunting license, they may apply for antlerless deer licenses based on staggered timelines, which will be outlined in the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest presented to each license buyer. The 2016-17 digest also will be available at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us in mid-June.

The board also voted to issue 124 elk licenses (25 antlered, 99 antlerless) for the 2016 hunt.

The licenses again will be awarded by lottery, and the deadline to enter the drawing is July 31.

Elk applications cost $10.70, and only one application may be submitted each license year.

Other modifications approved for the 2016-17 seasons include: opening the squirrel and rabbit seasons on the same day; making the length of the snowshoe-hare season consistent statewide; decreasing the length of the fall-turkey season in Wildlife Management Units 1A, 1B, 2A and 4C; adding an extended, four-day season for black bears in WMU 1B; eliminating the extended season for black bears in WMU 3A; and doubling to 12 days the length of the fisher trapping season in the 13 WMUs with fisher seasons. Also the board noted its preliminary vote to reclassify porcupines as furbearers will not result in the addition of a trapping season in 2016-17.

Several highlights pertaining to 2016-17 seasons and bag limits follow.

SPLIT FIREARMS DEER SEASONS UP FOR APRIL APPROVAL

The Board of Game Commissioners adopted a slate of deer seasons for 2016-17, retaining a split, five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 28-Dec. 2) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 3-10) in 18 Wildlife Management Units. The list includes WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E. The package also retains the two-week (Nov. 28-Dec. 10) concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 2B, 5A, 5B, 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. 28-Dec. 10 in 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.70 for residents and $35.70 for nonresidents.

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

The board retained the same antler restrictions by which adult and senior license holders have abided 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. Those 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.

Once again this year, the commissioners approved concurrent hunting of antlered and antlerless deer in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D during all seasons, with the first segment of the archery season to run from Sept. 17 to Nov. 26 in those WMUs.

FALL TURKEY SEASON CHANGES MOVE FORWARD

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to fall turkey seasons for 2016 and spring gobbler dates for 2017.

The slate of turkey seasons approved represents a reduction in the length of the fall seasons in four Wildlife Management Units – WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A and 4C.

Those four WMUs all have shown indications of declining turkey population trends. The reduction of season lengths in those WMUs is in accordance with guidelines in the Game Commission’s Wild Turkey Management Plan.

The fall season in WMUs 1A and 2A is reduced to one week (Oct. 29-Nov. 5), plus a three-day Thanksgiving season (Nov. 24-26). In WMU 1B, the season will remain one week (Oct. 29-Nov.5), but the Thanksgiving season is eliminated. And in WMU 4C, the season is reduced to two weeks (Oct. 29-Nov. 12), plus the three-day Thanksgiving season (Nov. 24-26).

The fall season dates for 2016, as approved by the board today, are: WMU 1B, Oct. 29-Nov.5; WMU 2B (shotgun and bow only), Oct. 29-Nov. 18 and Nov. 24-26; WMUs 1A and 2A, Oct. 29-Nov. 5 and Nov. 24-26; WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D; Oct. 29-Nov. 12 and Nov. 24-26; WMUs 2C and 4E, Oct. 29-Nov. 18, and Nov. 24-26; and WMU 5A, Nov. 3-5. WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D will remain closed for the fall seasons.

For the 2017 spring gobbler season, which will run from April 29-May 31, the board continued with legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from April 29-May 13, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon; and from May 15-31, hunters may hunt all day, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

The board approved holding the one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt on April 22, 2017, which will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. All junior license holders and Mentored Youth permit holders can participate in this special half-day hunt, as well as the other spring season dates.

OTHER MODIFICATIONS EXPLAINED

Regarding the black bear seasons to be held in the 2016-17 license year, the addition of a four-day extended season in WMU 1B was approved by the board.

With the change, this season will run concurrently from Wednesday through Saturday of the first week of firearms deer season in WMU 1B (Nov. 30-Dec.3). This season was recommended to prevent further expansion of bears into the western portion of WMU 1B, where the potential for bear-human conflicts is high.

The board also eliminated the extended season for black bears in WMU 3A, based primarily on data regarding the bear population within that WMU.

Additionally, the board approved an earlier start to the regular season for cottontails, allowing the statewide season to align with that for squirrels (Oct. 15-Nov. 26, Dec. 12-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28). The shift also aligns the youth seasons for cottontails and squirrels (Oct. 1-15). Commissioners said the changes intend to simplify regulations as well as expand rabbit-hunting opportunity.

Likewise, the change to make the length of the snowshoe-hare season consistent statewide simplifies regulations, facilitates species monitoring programs, and reflects the fact that harvest mortality is not a major driver of population trends for this species, the commissioners said.

And the river otter season was expanded to one week, Feb. 18-25, 2017, eliminating the need to extend the season daily if the harvest quota is not met.

PROPOSED 2016-17 HUNTING SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license, and mentored youth – Oct. 1-15 (6 daily, 18 in possession limit after first day).

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Oct. 15-Nov. 26; Dec. 12-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (6 daily, 18 possession).

RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 15–Nov. 26, Dec. 12-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 21 (2 daily, 6 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail) Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license: Oct. 1-15 (4 daily, 12 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 15-Nov. 26, Dec. 12-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (4 daily, 12 possession).

PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license – Oct. 8-15 (2 daily, 6 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs. There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.

PHEASANT: Male only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Male and female may be taken in all other WMUs – Oct. 22-Nov. 26, Dec. 12-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (2 daily, 6 in possession). There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.

BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 22-Nov. 26 (4 daily, 12 possession). (Closed in 5A, open in all other WMUs.)

HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES: Dec. 26–31, in all WMUs (1 daily, 3 possession).

WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except on Sundays and during the regular firearms deer seasons. No limit.

PORCUPINES: Sept. 1-March 31, except during overlap with the regular firearms deer season. (3 daily, season limit of 10).

CROWS: July 1-April 9, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. No limit.

STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer season. No limit.

WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): WMU 1B – Oct. 29-Nov. 5; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) – Oct. 29-Nov. 18 and Nov. 24-26; WMUs 1A and 2A – Oct. 29-Nov. 5 and Nov. 24-26; WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D – Oct. 29-Nov. 12 and Nov. 24-26; WMUs 2C and 4E– Oct. 29-Nov. 18 and Nov. 24-26; WMU 5A – Nov. 3-5; WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D – CLOSED TO FALL TURKEY HUNTING.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth – April 22, 2017. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 29-May 31, 2017. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may be only taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.) From April 29-May 13, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 15-31, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide) Archery: Nov. 14-18. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 19-23. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 3B, 3C and 3D): Nov. 28-Dec. 3. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 28-Dec. 10. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 1B, 2C, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) archery: Sept. 17-Nov. 18. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMU 5B) archery: Oct. 1-Nov. 18. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) muzzleloader: Oct. 15-22. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) special firearms: Oct. 20-22, for junior and senior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty military.

ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Oct. 31-Nov. 5. Only one elk may be taken during the license year.

ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 7-12. Only one elk may be taken during the license year. Eligible elk license recipients who haven’t harvested an elk by Nov. 5, in designated areas.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 17- Nov. 26 and Dec. 26-Jan. 28, 2017. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 1-Nov. 12 and Dec. 26-Jan. 14. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 28-Dec. 10. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E: Nov. 28-Dec. 2. One antlered deer per hunting license year. (Holders of valid DMAP antlerless deer permits may harvest antlerless deer on DMAP properties during this period.)

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E: Dec. 3-10. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide): Oct. 20-22. Junior and Senior License Holders, Mentored Youth Permit Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 15-22. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 14. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D): Dec. 26-Jan. 28. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS EXTENDED REGULAR FIREARMS: (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties): Dec. 26-Jan. 28. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

PROPOSED 2016-17 FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS

COYOTES: No closed season. Unlimited. Outside of any big game season (deer, bear, elk and turkey), coyotes may be taken with a hunting license or a furtaker license, and without wearing orange. During any big game season, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting big game or with a furtaker license.

RACCOONS and FOXES: Oct. 22-Feb. 18, unlimited.

OPOSSUM, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: No closed season, except Sundays. No limits.

BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Jan. 14-Feb. 8. One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

PROPOSED 2016-17 TRAPPING SEASONS

MINKS and MUSKRATS: Nov. 19-Jan. 8. Unlimited.

COYOTES, FOXES, OPOSSUMS, RACCOONS, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: Oct. 23-Feb. 19. No limit.

COYOTES and FOXES (Statewide) Cable Restraints: Dec. 26-Feb. 19. No limit. Participants must pass cable restraint certification course.

BEAVERS (Statewide): Dec. 26-March 31 (Limits vary depending on WMU).

BOBCATS (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 17-Jan. 8.

One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

FISHERS (WMUs 1B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4D and 4E): Dec. 17-28. One fisher per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

RIVER OTTERS (WMUs 3C and 3D): Feb. 18-25, 2017. One river otter per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

PROPOSED 2016-17 FALCONRY SEASONS

SQUIRRELS (combined), BOBWHITE QUAIL, RUFFED GROUSE, COTTONTAIL RABBITS, Sept. 1-March 31, 2017.

SNOWSHOE OR VARYING HARES, RINGNECK PHEASANTS (Male or Female combined): Sept. 1-March 31. Daily and Field Possession limits vary. (Migratory game bird seasons and bag limits for falconers will be set in accordance with federal regulations at a later date.)

No open season on other wild birds or mammals.

Waterfowl and Migratory Game Bird seasons to be established in accordance with federal regulations this summer.


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