Pennsylvania Game Commission officials, in partnership with the state chapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), are encouraging hunters to help veterans discover or rediscover the thrills and joys of hunting in Pennsylvania.
“This is an opportunity to do something special for the fine men and women who have served or continue to serve in America’s armed forces,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Our armed forces have defended our country and the rights we enjoy for more than two centuries.”
In 2012, Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, Nov. 12, rather than the traditional Nov. 11, which falls on a Sunday this year. In recognition of this situation, the Board of Game Commissioners moved to extend this year’s archery deer season to include the Monday holiday, for which many Pennsylvanians will have the day off of work.
Pennsylvania Game Commission logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)“Since that action was taken by our Board, the Game Commission is encouraging licensed hunters to serve as a volunteer guide for a veteran not only as part of the archery deer season, but for any of the lawful species that may be hunted on Veterans Day or throughout the 2012-13 seasons.”
Hunting seasons that are open on Nov. 12 include: archery deer; archery bear; fall turkey (in some Wildlife Management Units); squirrel; ruffed grouse; rabbit; pheasant; and various migratory game birds and furbearers.
The Game Commission offers several classifications of free or reduced fee licenses for resident active duty military, as well as former prisoners of war or disabled veterans. For more information, go to the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), put your cursor over “HUNT/TRAP” in the menu bar under the banner at the top of the page, then put your cursor over “Licensing & Permits” in the drop-down menu listing and then click on “License Types.”
To recognize those who step up to serve as volunteer guides for a veteran, the Game Commission will conduct a drawing to present six framed fine-art wildlife prints. To be eligible for one of the prints, a participating hunter must submit a brief e-mail that outlines the name and address of the veteran taken afield, type of hunting taken part in, and county where the shared hunt took place. American Legion or VFW members who take another veteran hunting also should include their member number.
All participating hunters, including those not affiliated with the American Legion or VFW must send an e-mail to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. A drawing will be held to select the six winners from all e-mails received by Dec. 31, 2012.
Hunters and veterans must meet licensing requirements and follow the laws and regulations that govern hunting in Pennsylvania.
ARCHERY BEAR AND DEER SEASONS TO OVERLAP IN URBAN WMUS
Archery deer hunters in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D will be able to participate in overlapping bear hunting opportunities as a means of achieving the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s goal of reducing bear-human conflicts in these urbanized areas of southwestern and southeastern corners of the state.
Archery deer hunters, who also possess a valid bear license, will be able to participate in an archery bear season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 15-28; and in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 29 until Nov. 10. Additionally, the statewide archery bear season runs from Nov. 12-16.
Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year. Successful archery bear hunters must attach the bear harvest tag to the bear’s ear and contact the appropriate region office within 24 hours for instructions to have the animals checked.
“Pennsylvania’s black bear population is larger and more widely distributed than ever, and bear-human incidents are becoming commonplace, especially in more developed areas,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Continued expansion of residential development into areas occupied by black bears has resulted in more frequent sightings and encounters between people and bears.
“In WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, which all have relatively high human population densities, there currently are low bear densities. As part of the Game Commission’s bear management plan, the agency wants to continue to have a minimum number of bears in these areas, and the agency wants hunters to have an opportunity to play an important role in bear population management in these urban/suburban areas.”
THREE WAYS AVAILABLE TO REPORT A HARVEST
Those participating in the state’s archery deer seasons can file their harvest reports through one of three methods to the Pennsylvania Game Commission: postage-paid postcards, online and through a toll-free telephone system.
As always, postage-paid postcards are included in the annual hunting digest for those hunters who choose to mail in their report cards.
To report a deer harvest online, go to the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on “Report Your Harvest” in the upper right-hand corner, check “Harvest Reporting,” scroll down and click on the “Start Here” button at the bottom of the page, choose the method of validating license information, and click on the checkbox for the harvest tag being reported. A series of options will appear for a hunter to report a harvest. After filling in the harvest information, click on the “Continue” button to review the report and then hit the “Submit” button to complete the report. Failing to hit the “Submit” button will result in a harvest report not being completed.
Hunters using the toll-free telephone reporting system can call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) number, which is 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681). Those using the toll-free number to submit a harvest report will receive a confirmation number, which they should write down and keep as proof of reporting. Callers should have their Customer Identification Number (hunting license number) and field harvest tag information with them when they call, and they should speak clearly and distinctly when reporting harvests, especially when providing the Wildlife Management Unit number and letter.
“Hunters may report one or more harvests in a single online or telephone session,” Roe said. “Responses to all harvest questions are required.
“We certainly are encouraging hunters to use the online or telephone reporting system, which will ensure that their harvest is recorded. Either way, the more important point is that all hunters who harvest a deer report it to the agency.”