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CNBNews Hunting and Fishing: Notes from the Field, Backyard Habitats, Free Seedlings, PA Snow Goose





Notes from the Field, by Gary Devine


December 14, 2011-Whitey travels the woods and farms in Southwestern New Jersey. This is very rare seeing him during the day. The photo was taken with my field camera that is hanging nearby on a tree. 

Whitey has eight points and last year he had four points. If he makes through the upcoming muzzleloader he should be a 10-pointer by the fall of 2012. Speaking of muzzleloader season it begins January 2. The following notice was posted on the state's Fish and Game website


Muzzleloader Season Continues January 2 in Most Zones

December 20, 2011

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife is notifying purchasers of muzzleloader deer permits PRMS0477for zones covered by Regulation Sets 2, 3, 3A, 4, 6 and 8 that the season continues on Monday, January 2, 2012. A typographical error in the 2011-12 Hunting Digest for Regulation Sets 4, 6 and 8 erroneously lists January 3.

GARY DEVINE PHOTO, nice buck hiding in southwestern New Jersey

Hunters are reminded that 2011-2012 Muzzleloader Season permits for zones that remain open are valid into next year, but a 2012 hunting license is required to hunt any permit deer season that extends into the new year. The 2012 hunting and fishing licenses are now available at license agents and online.


The 2011-12 Hunting Digest should be consulted for season dates, bag limits and regulations pertaining to specific deer management zones. The 2011-2012 Game Code is available for review at (pdf, 400kb). 





Landowners interested in developing “backyard habitats” beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to check out the “Landscaping for Wildlife in Pennsylvania,” available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Written by Marcus Schneck, a noted outdoor and nature writer from Hamburg, Berks County, the 160-page book comes complete with descriptions, drawings and photos of ideal habitat for a variety of species, from hummingbirds to bats, as well as construction plans for a number of wildlife nesting boxes.  The book also contains a chapter on nuisance wildlife and steps to address certain situations, as well as the importance of planting native species and a listing of recommended plants.

“While spring garden plantings may be several weeks away, now is the time to begin drawing up plans,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director.  “If you are interested in seeing and helping wildlife on your property, then this book is a must.  It can help guide any first-time backyard habitat planner, as well as an experienced hand, in helping to create an oasis for wildlife.”

To order the book, which costs $9.43 (plus state sales tax and shipping and handling), visit the Game Commission’s website (, put your cursor over “General Store” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, click on “Visit the Outdoor Shop” in the drop down menu listing, then choose “Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop” in the lower left-hand corner, choose “Merchandise” from the banner listing” and then click on “Books” in the categories in the left-hand column.  Orders also are being accepted at 1-888-888-3459.




HARRISBURG – While it may be winter, now is the time for landowners to begin making plans to help wildlife by to planting tree and shrub seedlings offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Howard Nursery, which will begin Jan. 3 through April 20. 

Order forms and information are available on the agency’s website ( by putting your cursor on “General Store” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then clicking on “Howard Nursery” in the drop-down menu listing and scrolling down and choosing “2012 Seedling Order Form.”  (NOTE: If you have problems downloading the order form, you likely need to install the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be found doing an internet search and downloaded for free.)

The order form can be completed and submitted on line, or printed out and faxed or mailed. Payments are not due until the order is confirmed by Howard Nursery.  For those without internet access, order forms can be obtained at Game Commission offices or various displays or booths at shows in which the agency participates through the spring or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Howard Nursery, 197 Nursery Road, Howard, PA 16841.

“Seedlings are available for purchase by landowners are suitable for a variety of uses, such as wildlife food and cover, watershed protection, soil erosion control, and for reclamation of disturbed areas, such as surface mine site and utility right-of-ways,” said Annetta Ayers, Howard Nursery superintendent. 

“The Howard Nursery strives to offer the finest available tree and shrub seedlings that best provide for the various needs of wildlife, including food and shelter.  All of our stock is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture and certified to be ‘disease-free.’”

Ayers noted that the nursery sells seedlings in units/bundles of 25.  Orders of 12 more total units receive discounted pricing.  Prices are as low as $3.75 per unit of 25 seedlings (15 cents each).

These species will be available for purchase beginning Jan. 3, 2012: Eastern white pine; red pine; white spruce; Norway spruce; Douglas fir; Eastern hemlock; Arborvitae/Northern white cedar; blue spruce; common elderberry; silky dogwood; graystem dogwood; flowering dogwood; arrowwood viburnum; American highbush cranberry; buttonbush; winterberry; sawtooth oak; scrub oak/bear oak; pin oak; mixed Northern red oak and black oak; white oak; black oak; black walnut; Chinese chestnut; American mountain ash; Washington hawthorne; assorted crabapple; American sweet crabapple; and assorted standard apple.

Those interested in red elderberry, Bartlett pear, Seckle pear, wild plum, Eastern redbud, wild black cherry, dwarf chinquapin oak and gobbler sawtooth oak should call Howard Nursery (814) 355-4434, as these species are in limited supply.  Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 


HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are set to offer hunters the opportunity to participate in a snow goose conservation hunt designed to help stem the growth of continental snow goose populations.  Hunters must obtain a free snow goose conservation hunt permit and report cards from the agency to participate in the season.

The Snow Goose Conservation Hunt dates are from Jan. 26 through April 27 in the Atlantic Population and the Southern James Bay Population goose zones, and Feb. 27 through April 27 in the Resident Population Goose Zone. The daily limit is 25, with no possession limit.

To do so, hunters can access the “Snow Goose Conservation Hunt” page by clicking on the appropriate icon in the center of the agency’s website ( and then following the instructions.  By completing the application online, hunters will be able to print off the permit and report cards and will not have to wait for the package to be mailed. 

For those individuals with no online access, permits and the required report cards can be obtained by calling the Game Commission at the Harrisburg headquarters (717-787-4250) and asking for the Bureau of Wildlife Management.  However, this process will require mailing the permit and report cards to the applicant, so allow a minimum of one week for processing and mail delivery to obtain a permit.

“Snow goose populations have reached levels that are causing extensive and possibly irreversible damage to their, as well as other nesting birds’, arctic and sub-arctic breeding grounds,” pointed out Kevin Jacobs, Game Commission waterfowl biologist. “For some populations of snow geese their nesting habitats can no longer support these large numbers. What’s more, these geese are beginning to impact fragile coastal marsh habitats and crops in Mid-Atlantic States and Quebec.

“It’s likely that North America has never had as many snow geese as it does now.  The current population of greater snow geese that inhabits the Atlantic Flyway is estimated at more than one million birds, more than double the management goal of 500,000.  They have become a huge and unexpected problem for themselves and other wildlife that shares the wintering and breeding grounds these waterfowl occupy.”

The quickest and probably most effective way for wildlife managers to respond to the problem is to allow additional hunting days – and new hunting methods – to reduce and stabilize snow goose populations. Therefore, as part of this Snow Goose Conservation Hunt, electronic calls and decoys are legal, and legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. Currently, all waterfowl shooting hours close at sundown, except for the September Canada goose season, and electronic calls are not legal for other waterfowl seasons.  

Currently, the regular snow goose season, with a daily bag limit of 25 snow geese, opened on Oct. 25 and runs through Jan. 25 in the Atlantic Population and Southern James Bay Population goose zones, and until Feb. 25 in the Resident Population Goose Zone.

Participating states are required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor and assess hunting activity and harvest. That is why the Game Commission has created the free Snow Goose Conservation Hunt Permit.

“Along with this new permit, hunters must possess a general hunting license, migratory game bird license and a federal duck stamp (for those 16 or older),” Jacobs said. “The permit holder will be required to maintain records specifying hunting activity and daily harvest. All permit holders must submit a report, even if they did not hunt or harvest any birds, to the Game Commission no later than May 28.  Failure to report by May 28 may result in loss of eligibility to participate in next year’s snow goose conservation hunt.”



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