Hunters Set Sights On Winter Game

Posted: January 01, 1995

Pennsylvania's fall hunting seasons have come and gone. But the winter seasons have just begun, giving hunters additional chances to pursue deer, small game, upland birds and waterfowl.

Most of the late seasons opened on Monday, but their closing dates vary.

Deer: The late seasons for people who wish to hunt deer with flintlock muzzleloaders and bows and arrows will continue through Jan. 14. The Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds hunters that they must have a flintlock or archery stamp if they wish to take part in these seasons.

Bow hunters who wish to hunt antlerless deer must have an antlerless-deer license. If bow hunters wish to hunt bucks, they must possess a regular hunting license tag.

Muzzleloader hunters may kill one deer of either sex anywhere in the state, as long as they still possess a regular hunting license tag. A flintlock hunter also can take an antlerless deer in the county for which he or she has a bonus antlerless license.

Deer hunters also should know that more than 500 landowners across the state have signed for the commission's "deer damage" program, and have opened their farms to the hunting of antlerless deer through Jan. 21. This special hunt is designed to reduce crop damage caused by deer.

Hunters can obtain a list of deer-damage areas in the county for which they hold an antlerless license or bonus tag by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the appropriate commission regional office. Addresses for the regional offices can be found in the agency's 1994-95 hunting digest, which is given to everyone who buys a hunting license.

Small game and upland birds: The late season for rabbits, which will continue through Feb. 4, is two weeks longer this year than it was in 1994. The daily bag limit is four.

The late squirrel season, with a daily limit of six, will run through Jan. 28.

Hunters also have more opportunities to pursue grouse this winter. The late season, which will run through Jan. 28, is open statewide and there is a daily limit of two. In recent years, the late grouse season was open in only 55 counties.

The late season for pheasants of either sex will last through Jan. 28 in Pennsylvania's North Zone, which for the most part includes the area north of Interstate 80.

The commission has released nearly 10,000 pen-raised hen pheasants for this hunt. Of these, 3,500 birds were stocked in the northeast, 1,550 were stocked in the north-central region, and the rest were released in the northwest.

Waterfowl: In the state's South Zone, the final portion of the regular season for Canada geese will reopen tomorrow and run through Jan. 19. The daily limit will be three.

For the third consecutive year, Pennsylvania also will conduct a special hunt for resident Canada geese from Jan. 20 through Feb. 4.

The hunt will take place on and within five miles of the Susquehanna River, the Juniata River and the West Branch of the Susquehanna, as well as several bridges. The bridges include the Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge on the south; the Route 103 bridge at Lewistown on the west; Constitution Bridge at Lock Haven on the northwest, and the Interstate 80 bridge on the northeast.

The hunt, with a daily limit of five birds, will include parts of 13 counties: Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union and York.

The late season is intended to reduce the population of resident Canadas. These birds, estimated to number more than 100,000 in Pennsylvania, do not migrate. Many of them have become nuisances by damaging crops and by fouling lawns, golf courses and parks.

Hunters must obtain a free permit to participate in this special hunt. Permits are available over the counter at commission regional offices or by writing: Pennsylvania Game Commission, Goose Permit, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg 17110-9797. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope, plus your name, address and telephone number.

ENVIRONMENTAL INDEX. Some 100 species of plants have disappeared from Pennsylvania and another 350 are either threatened or endangered, due in part to vegetation-munching deer.

This is only one of the trends discussed in the 1994 Environmental Quality Index issued by the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation, the educational arm of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.

To obtain a copy, write: Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation, 2426 N. Second St., Harrisburg, 17110. One copy is free, if you include a business-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope. Two to 10 copies cost 50 cents each, 10 to 25 copies cost 40 cents each, and 26 or more copies cost 30 cents each.

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