Monday, March 23, 2015

March ,2015 Hunter-Trapper Education

Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education

 
Register Now

Location & Schedule                         

Meeting on:

Date Time
Saturday, March 28, 2015 8:00am - 4:00pm

Located at:

Springdale District Sportsmen's Assoc.  
2181 Butler Logan Road
Tarentum, PA 15084


Cancellation Policies

You must cancel your registration before Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 8:00am.

Minimum-Age Policy

All registrants for this event must be 11 years of age by March 28, 2015.

Instructed by:

STEVEN R ALLIAS

This is a six-hour training class required by law for all first-time hunters and trappers before they can buy a license. You must pass a certification exam at the end of the class to complete this training.
Important In order to prepare for your class, read Chapters 1, 4, 5 and 9 located at Today's Hunter & Trapper in PA.


NOTE: You must be at least 11 years of age to register for this class!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pennsylvania deer harvest declines



 
Pennsylvania's deer harvest was down this past season compared to the one before but not necessarily unexpectedly, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission officials. The state's deer harvest continues to rank high compared to others around the country, according to a national report.

Pennsylvania deer harvest declines



  Blame it on lots of acorns. Or poor weather that ranged from excessively warm to rainy and foggy. Or maybe a reduction in available doe tags.
Those are some of the reasons state wildlife biologists in West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio gave for deer harvests that were lower in their 2014-15 seasons than in the previous year. West Virginia's deer harvest declined by 31 percent, Maryland's by 9 percent and Ohio's by 8 percent.
The story's the same here.
  According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters killed 303,973 deer in 2014-15. That's about 14 percent fewer than the 352,920 they took the year before.
  Breaking that down further, the buck harvest was down 11 percent, with hunters taking 119,260 last year. The doe harvest was down 16 percent, to 184,713.
  The same issues seen in those other states account for the decline in Pennsylvania, Game Commission officials said.
  Executive director Matt Hough said the agency issued 59,500 fewer doe licenses last year than the one before. Records show it takes roughly four antlerless licenses to harvest one deer, so fewer tags inevitably means fewer deer taken, Hough said.
Commission president Dave Putnam of Centre County said weather hampered hunters. Commission records historically show that the first day of the firearms deer season together with the first Saturday account for more than half of the entire firearms deer harvest.
  Yet this year, the weather on those days ranged from unusually warm to rainy and foggy, he said.
“I would really have been surprised if the harvest did anything but go down,” commissioner Ron Weaner of Adams County said.
Still, the harvest likely will rank high nationally if history is any indication.
  The Quality Deer Management Association recently put out its annual “Whitetail Report.” It is billed as a “state of the nation” for whitetails, comparing things like total deer harvest, buck and doe harvests, and harvest per square mile across states.
In 2013-14, according to the report, Pennsylvania ranked fifth nationally in total buck harvest, trailing only Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. It also produced three bucks per square mile, which again ranked fifth.
  The report also said Pennsylvania ranked third nationally in doe harvest and fourth in does harvested per square mile, at 4.9.
  The state's one sour ranking concerns the killing of fawns, meaning deer 6 months old at the time of harvest. Nationally, according to the Whitetail Report, about 25 percent of the doe harvest is made up of fawns. In Pennsylvania, though, it was 39 percent in 2013-14.
This year was more of the same. According to the Game Commission, the antlerless harvest was made up of 61 percent adult does, 20 percent button bucks and 18 percent doe fawns.
  The buck harvest was better, though. Fifty-seven percent of the bucks killed were at least 2 12 years old. That's the highest percentage seen in decades, the commission said.
Add it all up, and the buck and doe harvest estimates released last week by the commission — though down from the year before — likely will rank Pennsylvania among the nation's leaders in harvest again.
Some people aren't buying it, though.
  All of those rankings are based on the Game Commission's harvest estimates, which are widely viewed as sketchy at best, said Randy Santucci of McKees Rocks, president of the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania.
  Many deer hunters are convinced deer populations in large sections of the state are so low that they are nearly unhuntable, he said.
The hope, he said, is the board might do something this year about that and reduce the number of doe licenses available, allowing deer populations to recover.
Commissioners took steps in that direction last year, Santucci said, eliminating concurrent buck and doe hunting during the firearms deer season in several areas. It's allowed now only in the wildlife management units with the highest density of human populations.
  A big reduction in the doe license allocation this year would be another step, he said.
“I think they were laying some of the groundwork last year. I just have a feeling there's going to be more of that this year,” Santucci said.
“I'm anticipating the next couple of years are going to be better.”
Commissioners will decide how many doe tags to offer — and give final approval to seasons and bag limits for the 2015-16 license year — during their next meeting. It's set for April 9-10 in Harrisburg.
Weaner said he's not expecting big changes then.
  He said he has heard people outside the agency make similar predictions, that this is the year the agency will make sweeping changes to its deer management program. He also has seen them in reports from various media outlets. But he hasn't heard anything like that coming from within the commission.
“Frankly, I don't know where that's coming from. I haven't heard of anyone talking about drastically reducing doe licenses. I'm certainly not in favor of it,” Weaner said.
  That's not to say the commission is trying to reduce deer numbers, Putnam said. That's a common complaint, he said.
But the reality is the commission has not been working to reduce populations — outside of a few urban trouble spots — for a while, he added.
“We've even allowed numbers to increase in places,” Putnam said.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

2014 Bear Harvest!

Pennsylvania Bear Harvest Impressive Again In 2014

With the totals now official, the top seven harvests in state history all have occurred in the past decade.


          It’s official: The trend of recent bear seasons taking their place in the Pennsylvania record books continues.

          Pennsylvania hunters harvested a total of 3,366 bears in 2014, the seventh-highest tally in state history, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported today.


          With 2014 totals now official, the seven largest bear harvests all have occurred in the past decade.


          The all-time high was recorded in 2011, when 4,350 bears were harvested. Hunters harvested 3,510 bears in 2013 – the third-largest harvest on record.


          Hunters in 2014 harvested bears in 56 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, an increase compared to 2013, when bears were taken in 53 counties. Likewise, bears were taken in 21 of the state’s 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), which also is an increase compared to 2013, when bears were taken in 20 WMUs.


          Forty-one bears harvested by hunters in 2014 weighed 500 pounds or more.


          The heaviest bear in the harvest, taken in Pittsfield Township, Warren County, by James M. Hultberg, of Pittsfield, weighed an estimated 677 pounds.
          Two other bears topped the 600-pound mark.


          Leon J. Graham, of Morris, harvested a 630-pounder in Pine Township, Lycoming County during the bear archery season, and Fred F. Stoltzfus, of Lewisburg, took a 623-pound bear in West Buffalo Township, Union County, while hunting in the general season.


          The remaining bears on the list of the 10 heaviest from 2014 include: a 598-pounder harvested in Muddy Creek Township , Butler County, by Jeffrey McClymonds, of Slippery Rock, during the general season; a 597-pounder taken in Delmar Township, Tioga County by John L. Thrush, of Boiling Springs, during the general season; a 596-pounder harvested in Forks Township, Sullivan County, by Gary L. Heinsey, of Denver, during the extended season; a 584-pounder taken in Washington Township, Jefferson County, by Daniel J. Whaling, of Falls Creek, during the bear archery season; a 579-pounder taken in Armstrong Township, Indiana County by Gabriel J. Heckman, of Shelocta, during the general season; a 574-pounder harvested in Tyrone Township, Blair County, by Ray E. Golden Jr., of Tyrone, during the general season; and a 561-pounder taken in Sugarcreek Township, Venango County, by Heath M. Bromley, of Oil City, during the bear archery season. 


          Lycoming County, perennially among the top counties for bear harvests again led the way with 286 harvests in 2014, up from 234 the previous year. Among other top counties for bear harvests in 2014 were: Tioga, 274 (286 in 2013); Clinton, 179 (133); Potter 157 (196); and Centre, 117 (96).


          The four-day general season again set the pace for the overall harvest, with 2,447 bears being taken during that season. But the extended seasons and the archery bear season also contributed to the totals. 


          Statewide, 740 bears were harvested in extended seasons while 170 were taken during the archery bear season. 


          Tioga County claimed the highest harvest in extended seasons, with 71 bears taken after the close of the general statewide bear season. Other top counties, and their harvest totals during the extended seasons, were: Lycoming, 59; Wayne, 52; Bradford, 49; and Potter, 46. 


          Final county harvests by region (with 2013 figures in parentheses) are:


          Northwest – 394: Warren, 100 (148); Venango, 71 (70); Jefferson, 56 (70); Clarion, 54 (59);  Forest, 41 (50); Butler, 28 (24); Crawford, 26 (36); Erie, 13 (6); and Mercer, 5 (3). 


         
Southwest – 311: Somerset, 108 (106); Fayette, 103 (67); Armstrong, 35 (43); Westmoreland, 29 (41); Indiana, 19 (49); Cambria, 15 (26); and Allegheny, 2 (3). 


         
Northcentral – 1,382: Lycoming, 286 (234); Tioga, 274 (286); Clinton, 179 (133); Potter 157 (196); Centre, 117 (96); McKean, 100 (108); Elk, 79 (103); Cameron, 76 (108); Clearfield, 72 (125); and Union, 42 (41).


         
Southcentral – 390: Huntingdon, 88 (67); Bedford, 70 (55); Perry, 55 (16); Mifflin, 42 (31); Blair, 41 (29); Fulton, 28 (19); Juniata, 28 (28); Franklin, 19 (9); Snyder, 14 (18); Cumberland, 4 (1); and Adams, 1 (0). 


         
Northeast – 794: Pike, 111 (150); Bradford, 108 (96); Wayne, 87 (127); Monroe, 79 (79); Sullivan, 76 (105); Luzerne, 74 (98); Susquehanna, 74 (56); Wyoming, 55 (66); Lackawanna, 51 (48); Carbon, 47 (57); Columbia, 23 (24); Northumberland, 8 (14); and Montour, 1 (0). 


         
Southeast – 95: Schuylkill, 39 (35); Dauphin, 35 (23); Northampton, 9 (18); Berks, 6 (4); Lehigh 4 (0); and Lebanon, 2 (7).


         
The final bear harvests by Wildlife Management Unit (with final 2013 figures in parentheses) were: WMU 1A, 12 (16); WMU 1B, 90 (94); WMU 2A, 1 (0) WMU 2B, 3 (4); WMU 2C, 290 (247); WMU 2D, 148 (171); WMU 2E, 48 (93); WMU 2F, 262 (309); WMU 2G, 622 (575); WMU 2H, 68 (87); WMU 3A, 286 (362); WMU 3B, 366 (364); WMU 3C, 168 (196); WMU 3D, 296 (393); WMU 4A, 106 (80); WMU 4B, 141 (67); WMU 4C, 120 (93); WMU 4D, 260 (275); WMU 4E, 63 (68); WMU 5A, 4 (0); WMU 5B, 0 (1); and WMU 5C, 12 (16).


          Impressive as the 2014 bear harvest is, it’s worth noting the potential for an even bigger harvest certainly was. 


          A record number of hunters – 173,523 – bought Pennsylvania bear licenses in 2014. The previous record – 167,438 – was set in 2013. It also was a bumper year for mast crops throughout much of the state’s core bear-hunting area. 


          When little food is available, bears tend to enter dens early. But in years when food is abundant, they remain more active during hunting seasons. 


          But the weather was less than ideal through portions of the bear seasons. The archery season was much colder, and wetter, than it had been in years. Still, 170 bears were taken during the statewide archery season, but the total was down slightly from 2013 when 197 were harvested.


          The 2014 general season began on a high note, with the opening day harvest up 21 percent compared to 2013. And that increase came despite an ice storm that affected hunters throughout northcentral Pennsylvania during the afternoon of the opening day.
          The weather would continue to have an impact on the general season, and the Monday harvest was down 40 percent compared to 2013. 


Still, it’s difficult to consider the seventh-largest harvest on record anything but a success.
          And the prospects for the trend to continue again next year already are good, said Mark Ternent, the Game Commission’s bear biologist. 


          The statewide bear population has remained stable over the past seven years now, with the population estimated most recently at 18,100 bears, Ternent said. Interest in bear hunting has remained high, as verified by license sales. And the opportunities to hunt bears are as plentiful as ever.


          “It’s always difficult to predict exactly how good bear hunting will be in a given year,” Ternent said. “But it clear we’ve had several banner years in the past decade, and there’s nothing to indicate fantastic bear hunting won’t continue in 2015 and beyond.”


What a decade for bear hunting
The 2014 Pennsylvania bear harvest, the seventh-largest in state history, joined other recent seasons near the top of the record books. With the totals now official, the seven top harvests all have occurred in the last decade. Here’s a look:
Top Pennsylvania bear harvests
1.      4,350 – 2011
2.      4,164 – 2005
3.      3,623 – 2012
4.      3,512 – 2009
5.      3,510 – 2013
6.      3,458 – 2008

7.      3,366 – 2014