As the statewide deer seasons kick off, hunters will have their first opportunity to recover big game they’ve shot by tracking the animal’s escape trail with a leashed dog.
Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year signed into law a bill that allows for the use of leashed tracking dogs to recover big game that cannot be recovered by hunters.
The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Mario M. Scavello, provides another choice for hunters who have shot and inflicted injury on a white-tailed deer, black bear or elk, but lose the trail.
“This law will provide greater recovery of big game shot by hunters,” noted Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “Trailing big game can require specialized tracking skills, especially after nightfall. And if it’s a warmer night, or rain is approaching, every minute matters. Within a few hours, downed big game might spoil.”

Board also strengthens public hunting requirement in deer-control permits.

HARRISBURG, PA - The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to allow mourning dove hunting in managed dove fields, areas where grain or other agricultural or natural food has been scattered where it’s grown. Food or grain not naturally grown on the site cannot be added to managed fields.
Grain can be manipulated in managed fields until Sept. 15 through mowing, shredding, discing, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning or herbicide treatments.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to a measure that will strengthen the “public hunting” component for deer-control permits the Game Commission issues for deer problems on private and public properties, often within suburban and urban areas.
The goal of this permit revision is to improve the use and prominence of public hunting without unduly restricting the effectiveness of a deer-control permit.
Permit criteria always had stipulated that lawful hunting be allowed on public lands seeking deer-control permits, unless waived by the agency’s executive director. Often applicants established organized control hunts, while others have organized or invited hunting clubs to help reduce deer numbers. Still others invited only local government employees to engage in hunting on the permitted properties.

License buyers should make certain they were issued the booklet they wanted.

To ensure they’re informed before heading afield, those purchasing Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker licenses receive a complimentary pocket guide that summarizes seasons, bag limits, hunting hours and other basic requirements.
Whether buying licenses for 2017-18 or 2018-19, license buyers should make certain they’re receiving the pocket guide for the correct license year.
Through most of June, sales for the current 2017-18 license year and upcoming 2018-19 license year occur simultaneously, and it’s possible some license buyers are issued the wrong pocket guide.
The 2018-19 pocket guide is available online on the 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Digest homepage, which can be accessed under Quick Clicks at The pocket guide can be printed at home on 8 1/2- by 14-inch legal paper.
Pocket guides also are available at the Game Commission’s headquarters and region offices.
The 2017-18 license year ends June 30 and the 2018-19 license year begins July 1.

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