Final approval of seasons, antlerless license allocations, to occur in March.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2017-18 license year.
Modifications proposed for the 2017-18 seasons include: moving the statewide archery bear season to the next-to-the-last week of the archery deer season; changing the firearms deer season in Wildlife Management Units 5A and 5B to bucks-only hunting from the opening day through the first Friday; opening a conservative mid-week fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Area 5B, and reducing the season length in WMUs 4A, 4B and 4E; eliminating the post-Christmas segment of the ruffed-grouse season to improve adult survival due to recent population declines; restoring an extended black-bear season in WMU 3A; opening the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area to a youth-only pheasant-hunting season; opening WMU 5A to put-and-take bobwhite quail hunting, given the lack of wild quail in the area and the low likelihood of quail reintroduction being initiated there soon.


The public may offer comments on all proposed 2017-18 seasons and bag limits, as well as other board actions, between now and the board’s next meeting, March 27 and 28, at which time the board is scheduled to finalize seasons and bag limits for 2017-18.
Also, the board will receive at its March meeting staff recommendations for antlerless deer license allocations for each of the 23 WMUs. Deer harvest estimates for the 2016-17 seasons are expected to be available in mid-March.
Following are several articles on meeting highlights.

SPLIT FIREARMS DEER SEASONS UP FOR MARCH APPROVAL

The Board of Game Commissioners adopted a slate of deer seasons for 2017-18, proposing a split, five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 27-Dec. 1) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 2-9) in 20 Wildlife Management Units. The list includes WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B. The package also retains the two-week (Nov. 27-Dec. 9) 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. 27-Dec. 9 in 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B. 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. 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 gave tentative approval to concurrent hunting of antlered and antlerless deer in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D during most seasons, with the first segment of the archery season to run from Sept. 16 to Nov. 25 in those WMUs.

FALL TURKEY SEASON CHANGES MOVE FORWARD

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to fall turkey seasons for 2017 and spring gobbler dates for 2018.
The board preliminarily approved a conservative, midweek fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Unit 5B, which long has been closed to fall-turkey hunting.
The board also gave preliminary approval to reducing the length of the fall season in three Wildlife Management Units – WMUs 4A, 4B and 4E. Those WMUs all have shown indications of declining turkey population trends.
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 in March, the fall season in WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B would be one week (Oct. 28-Nov. 4), plus a three-day Thanksgiving season (Nov. 23-25).
In WMU 1B, the season would remain one week (Oct. 28-Nov.4), with no Thanksgiving season.
In WMU 2B (shotgun and bow only), the season would run from Oct. 28-Nov. 17 and Nov. 23-25.
In WMU 2C, the season would be Oct. 28-Nov. 17 and Nov. 23-25.
In WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E, the season would be Oct. 28-Nov. 11 and Nov. 23-25.
In WMU 5A, the season would be from Nov. 2-4.
In WMU 5B, the season would be from Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
And in WMUs 5C and 5D, the season would remain closed for the fall seasons.
For the 2018 spring gobbler season, which is proposed to run from April 28-May 31, the board continued with legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from April 28-May 12, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon; and from May 14-31, 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 21, 2018, 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.


PROPOSED 2017-18 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 – Sept. 30-Oct. 14 (6 daily, 18 in possession limit after first day).

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Oct. 14-Nov. 25; Dec. 11-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (6 daily, 18 possession).

RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 14–Nov. 25 and Dec. 11-23 (2 daily, 6 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail) Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license: Sept. 30-Oct. 14 (4 daily, 12 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 14-Nov. 25, Dec. 11-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (4 daily, 12 possession).

PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license – Oct. 7-14 (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 taking pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, except within the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, as authorized by executive order.

PHEASANT: Male only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Male and female may be taken in all other WMUs – Oct. 21-Nov. 25, Dec. 11-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (2 daily, 6 in possession). There is no open season for taking pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, except within the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, as authorized by executive order.

BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 21-Nov. 25 (4 daily, 12 possession).

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

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

CROWS: July 1-April 8, 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. 28-Nov. 4; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) – Oct. 28-Nov. 17 and Nov. 23-25; WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B, – Oct. 28-Nov. 4 and Nov. 23-25; WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E– Oct. 28-Nov. 11 and Nov. 23-25; WMU 2C – Oct. 28-Nov. 17 and Nov. 23-25; WMU 5A – Nov. 2-4; WMU 5B – Oct. 31-Nov. 2; WMUs 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 21, 2018. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 28-May 31, 2018. 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 28-May 12, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 14-31, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide) Archery: Oct. 30-Nov. 4. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 18-22. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 3B, 3C and 3D): Nov. 27-Dec. 2. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 27-Dec. 9. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 1B, 2C, 3A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Nov. 29-Dec. 2. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) archery: Sept. 16-Nov. 25. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMU 5B) archery: Sept. 30-Nov. 11. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) muzzleloader: Oct. 14-21. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) special firearms: Oct. 19-21, 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. 30-Nov.4. Only one elk may be taken during the license year.

ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 6-11. 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. 16- Nov. 25 and Dec. 26-Jan. 27, 2018. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Sept. 30-Nov. 11 and Dec. 26-Jan. 13. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 27-Dec. 9. 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, 4E, 5A and 5B: Nov. 27-Dec. 1. 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, 4E, 5A and 5B: Dec. 2-9. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide): Oct. 19-21. 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. 14-21. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 13. 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. 27. 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. 27. 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 2017-18 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. 21–Feb. 17, 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. 13-Feb. 7. One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

PORCUPINES: Sept. 1-March 31, 2018. (3 daily, season limit of 10).


PROPOSED 2017-18 TRAPPING SEASONS

MINKS and MUSKRATS: Nov. 18–Jan. 7. Unlimited.

COYOTES, FOXES, OPOSSUMS, RACCOONS, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: Oct. 22–Feb. 18. No limit.

COYOTES and FOXES (Statewide) Cable Restraints: Dec. 26-Feb. 18. 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. 16-Jan. 7.
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. 16-27. One fisher per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

RIVER OTTERS (WMUs 3C and 3D): Feb. 17-24, 2018. One river otter per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.


PROPOSED 2017-18 FALCONRY SEASONS

SQUIRRELS (combined), BOBWHITE QUAIL, RUFFED GROUSE, COTTONTAIL RABBITS, Sept. 1-March 31, 2018.

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 following the March 10 Waterfowl Symposium.

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