HELP SUPPORT WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: BUY A GAME COMMISSION CALENDAR
The Pennsylvania Game Commission this fall is offering both a wild birds and a wildlife calendar to raise money for wildlife conservation among residents who normally don’t contribute to wildlife’s wellbeing in the Keystone State.
“It’s no secret, the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians whose lives are enriched by wildlife don’t have a chance to contribute toward its conservation,” explained Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “We’d like to change that by offering these calendars as a way for Pennsylvanians to get more excited about wildlife and contribute to its conservation.”
Make no mistake, every dollar raised for Pennsylvania wildlife conservation matters in an era when so many neotropical birds are in decline; when cave bats have lost up to 95 percent of their populations to white-nose syndrome; and when the state bird, the ruffed grouse, has been decimated by West Nile virus.
Each calendar is 10½ by 13 inches and printed on quality stock. Every month features an exceptional wild bird or mammal color photograph that will dress up any room, as well as timely tidbits on birds or wildlife to help you stay abreast of seasonal outdoor happenings. Click here to continue reading.
A GOOD BEAR SEASON ON THE HORIZON?
Photo credit: Jacob Dingel
The potential for Pennsylvania black-bear hunters to set a new state record remains for a third consecutive year as hunters head afield Nov. 17 for the opening day of Pennsylvania’s four-day statewide firearms bear season.
Penn’s Woods has maintained a bear population of around 20,000 the past three years, but inclement opening-day hunting weather and other autumn oddities have helped bears elude the record numbers of hunters pursuing them the past two years. Fantastic mast crops have spread bears out, making them harder to find. Late leaf-drop – occurring this year, too – also has provided bears plenty of cover to sneak about the Commonwealth.
Still, with cooperative weather, particularly on the opening day, Pennsylvania has a chance to overtake the state’s record 4,350 bear harvest set in 2011.
Even with one of the worst starts in history, bear hunters in 2017-18 managed a bear harvest of 3,438, which ranks ninth all-time. There were also some big bears in the harvest: 48 weighed more than 500 pounds.
“The best time to be a Pennsylvania bear hunter is right now,” emphasized Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “The bear population has reached unprecedented size and bears are now found in most counties. It’s no wonder record numbers of hunters have bought bear licenses in recent years.”
Pennsylvania’s best bear seasons have been supported by clear, cold weather, with a little tracking snow. But a significant ice, fog or rain, or a good dumping of snow during the season, can hold the bear harvest down. Hunters have a harder time getting to or from their favorite hunting spots, the bears are harder to see, and overall participation generally drops. Click here to continue reading.
DUCK HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO TAKE ONLINE SURVEY
Photo credit: Jacob Dingel
Due to declines throughout the northeastern United States, the daily bag limit for mallards in the Atlantic Flyway for the 2019-20 seasons likely will be reduced to two per day, and Pennsylvania’s waterfowl hunters are encouraged to participate in an online survey that will contribute to developing a longer-term management strategy for Atlantic Flyway mallards.
Mallards are the most common duck species harvested in Pennsylvania, accounting for about half of the state’s total duck harvest. Most mallards harvested in Pennsylvania travel from breeding areas in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.
But while mallard populations appear relatively stable in eastern Canada, throughout the past 15 to 20 years, populations have declined by about 40 percent in the northeastern United States. Pennsylvania’s breeding mallard population has declined by about 50 percent.
As an interim step in addressing these declines, the Atlantic Flyway Council has recommended, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has preliminarily approved, a reduction in the species-specific daily bag limit for mallards in the Atlantic Flyway beginning in the 2019-20 hunting season. The bag limit will be reduced from four mallards (of which no more than two may be hens) to two mallards (of which no more than one may be a hen). Click here to continue reading.