Thursday, August 13, 2015


This is a summary of last week's news releases. Read the most recent news here.
Release #050-15
Dove season to overlap with nearly all of early small-game season.
Pennsylvania’s early migratory bird seasons have been approved, and dove hunters will need to pay particular attention to the dates on which seasons start and end.
Dove-season segments have been restructured this year so that doves may be hunted throughout the early small-game season. But that means dove season will close briefly prior to the start of small-game season, then reopen.
Dove season will open on Tuesday, Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 10. It then will reopen on Oct. 17, which is the first day of the statewide openers for squirrels and ruffed grouse, and run through Nov. 28, which is the closing day for squirrels, grouse, rabbits, pheasants and quail. The final dove season segment runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.
Traditionally, the first segment started and ended in September, and much of October was closed to dove hunting. But for the second consecutive year, under season-setting guidelines adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014, Pennsylvania and other eastern states have been allotted additional dove-hunting days to make for a longer season.
Hunting hours are from noon until sunset from Sept. 1 through Sept. 25. Beginning on Sept. 26, hunting hours during open dove seasons begin at one-half hour before sunrise and end at sunset. The daily bag limit in each dove-hunting segment has been set at 15, with a possession limit of 45.
The September statewide season for resident Canada geese also will open Sept. 1, and continue through Sept. 25. The September season retains a daily bag limit of eight Canada geese, with a possession limit of 24.
Shooting hours during the September goose season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, except when the season overlaps with youth waterfowl hunting days. On those days, shooting hours end at sunset.
There are special regulations – including smaller bag limits and possession limits – in a couple of areas of the state.
In most of the Southern James Bay Population Goose Zone, and on the Pymatuning Reservoir and the area extending 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of state Route 3011 (Hartstown Road), hunters will have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of nine.
Also, in a portion of western Crawford County, the daily bag limit is one goose and possession limit is three geese. That area begins south of state Route 198 from the Ohio state line to intersection of state Route 18, then follows state Route 18 south to state Route 618; follows state Route 618 south to U.S. Route 6; U.S. Route 6 east to U.S. Route 322/state Route 18; U.S. Route 322/state Route 18 west to intersection of state Route 3013; and state Route 3013 south to the Crawford/Mercer County line. The exception to the rules in this area is State Game Lands 214, where September goose hunting is closed. This restriction does not apply to youth participating in the youth waterfowl hunting days, when regular-season regulations apply.
And, in the area of Lancaster and Lebanon counties north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) and east of state Route 501 to state Route 419; south of state Route 419 to Lebanon-Berks county line; west of Lebanon-Berks county line to state Route 1053 (also known as Peartown Road and Greenville Road); and west of state Route 1053 to Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76), the daily bag limit is one goose, with a possession limit of three geese. This restriction does not apply to youth participating in the youth waterfowl hunting days, when regular season regulations apply.
Closed September Goose Hunting Areas
The controlled hunting areas at the Game Commission’s Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon and Lancaster counties, as well as all of State Game Lands 46, will remain closed to September goose hunting to address the decline in the resident Canada goose flock.
State Canada Goose Population
Kevin Jacobs, a waterfowl biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, noted that liberal Canada goose hunting opportunities, along with control programs used by many municipalities and public and private landowners, have stabilized the state’s resident Canada goose population at nearly 250,000 total spring Canada geese in recent years. This is down nearly 90,000 Canada geese from the peak numbers of nearly 340,000 estimated in 2004 and 2005. However, populations remain significantly above the management goal of 150,000.“Hunting remains the most effective and efficient way to manage resident Canada geese, provided hunters can gain access to geese in problem areas,” Jacobs said.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days
The first youth waterfowl hunting day will be held statewide on Sept. 19, and the second day will vary by duck-hunting zone and will be announced when late migratory game bird seasons are selected in mid-August.Youth waterfowl days are open to licensed junior hunters who are 12 to 15 years old. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the youth in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt. During those hunts, youth can harvest ducks, geese, mergansers, coots and gallinules. Licensed adults can harvest Canada geese on Sept. 19, and on the second youth day if there is a general Canada goose season open in the area being hunted.
On youth waterfowl days occurring when there is a general Canada goose season open, youth and adults have the same daily limit for Canada geese in the area being hunted. On youth waterfowl days occurring when there is not a general Canada goose season open, accompanying adults may not harvest Canada geese, and the bag limit for youth hunters is the same as in the regular season for the area being hunted. Bag limits for ducks, mergansers, coots and gallinules will be consistent with the limit for the regular season, which will be announced in mid-August, after the annual Waterfowl Symposium on Aug. 7. 
Pennsylvania’s woodcock season retains its longer format this year, opening on Oct. 17 and closing on Nov. 28. The daily limit remains three, with a possession limit of nine. 
The season for common snipe also will run from Oct. 17 to Nov. 28, which is the same structure as previous years. The daily limit is 8, and the possession limit is 24.
Virginia and Sora Rail
Virginia and sora rail hunting will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 9. Bag limits, singly or combined, are three daily and nine in possession. The season for king and clapper rails remains closed.
Hunting for gallinules also runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 9, and the bag limits are three daily and nine in possession.
Required Licenses
Migratory game bird hunters, including those afield for doves and woodcock, are required to obtain and carry a Pennsylvania migratory game bird license ($3.70 for residents, $6.70 for nonresidents), as well as a general hunting, combination or lifetime license. All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older also must possess a federal migratory bird hunting and conservation (duck) stamp.
Hunting Hours
Hunting hours for all migratory birds close at sunset, except for September Canada geese, as noted above, and the snow goose conservation season.
Season Selection
Annual migratory bird and waterfowl seasons are selected by states from a framework established by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Guide to Migratory Bird Hunting
The “Pennsylvania 2015-16 Guide to Migratory Bird Hunting” brochure will be posted on the Game Commission’s website ( in mid-August.
Report Banded Birds
Hunters are encouraged to report leg-banded migratory game bird recoveries online at, or use the toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND). Online reporting is preferred because it provides better data quality and lowers costs. Hunters will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of migratory game birds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015 Elk License

Those looking to take part in Pennsylvania’s 2015 hunt must submit applications by July 31.

Those whose names have been drawn will tell you – there’s nothing like the opportunity to pursue Pennsylvania’s elk.
But those who don’t act fast will miss out on their chance to participate in Pennsylvania’s 2015 elk hunt.
The deadline to enter the annual drawing for elk licenses is July 31.
Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough urged hunters to be mindful of the deadline.
“We have world-class elk here, and being selected for a license to hunt them represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hough said. “But you have to submit an application for a chance to take part and, remember, the clock is ticking.”
The drawing will be held Aug. 15 in Benezette, Pa. as part of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo.
Applications can be submitted anywhere hunting licenses are sold, or online at the Game Commission’s website, Perhaps the easiest way to submit an online application is by clicking on the “Elk Hunting” icon on the website’s homepage.
Applicants must pay a $10.70 non-refundable application fee to be included in the drawing.
This year’s drawing provides a greater opportunity for hunters to obtain an elk license. The number of licenses to be allocated has been increased to 116, up from the 108 licenses issued in the 2014-15 season.
On the date of the drawing, hunters will be selected for 21 licenses for antlered elk, or bulls, and 95 licenses for antlerless elk, or cows.
Individuals are not required to purchase a resident or nonresident general hunting license to apply for the drawing. However, hunters who are drawn for a license must hold a valid general hunting license and a valid elk license in order to hunt elk.
Adult general hunting licenses cost $20.70 for residents and $101.70 for nonresidents, and elk license fees are $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. 
Those who enter the drawing but are not selected to purchase an elk license still benefit by increasing their chances to be selected in coming years.
Each applicant in the drawing receives a preference point that will serve to multiply the number of chances the applicant receives in subsequent drawings. Individuals who applied in each year from 2003 through 2014, but were not awarded an elk license, have 12 preference points heading into this year’s drawing. If they submit an application this year, they will have their name entered into the drawing 13 times (12 preference points in addition to the point from this year’s application.)
Additionally, hunters who want to earn a preference point for this year, but know that they would not be able to participate in the elk hunting season if drawn, have the option of simply purchasing a preference point for $10.70. While they will not be included in the drawing for the 2014 elk licenses, they will continue to build their preference points.
Those applying for an elk license can choose either an antlered or antlerless elk license, or they may select either-sex on their application. For those who select “antlered only,” if they are drawn after the antlered licenses are allocated, they will not receive an elk license. For those who do receive an antlered elk license, they will not be permitted to re-apply for future elk hunting opportunities for five years. However, those who received an antlerless elk license in any of the previous hunts may submit an application this year.
Applicants also have the opportunity to identify their elk hunt zone preference, or they may select “NP” (no preference). If drawn and their preferred hunt zone is filled, applicants will be assigned to another zone, so identifying a preference doesn’t change the odds of being drawn.. 
To find out the status of an application, go to the Game Commission website (, and click on the blue “Buy a License” box in the upper right corner of the homepage.  Click on the “Purchase License Permit and or Application/Replace License and or Permit” option, which includes the ability to “Check on the status of any Lottery Application,” scroll down and click on the “Start Here” button at the bottom of the page.  At this page, choose one of the identification options below to check your records, fill in the necessary information and click on the “Continue” button. Click on the appropriate residency status, which will display your current personal information.  At the bottom of the page, choose the “Check on the status of any Lottery Application” button, and then hit “Continue.”
Details on the elk season and drawing are available on pages 64 to 69 of the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is provided to license buyers and may be viewed on the agency’s website.
By law, only one application is permitted per person per year, and the Pennsylvania Automated License System will prohibit an individual from submitting more than one application. 

For the cost of a $25 chance, one lucky hunter will win extended-season bull-hunting opportunity.

Being selected for that once-in-a-lifetime chance to hunt elk in Pennsylvania – could it get any better?
            The Keystone Elk Country Alliance is holding its second raffle for a special elk-hunting opportunity to be offered this fall.
Not only will the raffle’s winner get to a chance at a record-class bull, but also will be able to hunt across the elk range in an extended season that runs Sept. 1 through Nov. 7, will receive a six-day fully guided hunt that is professionally filmed by TomBob Outdoors, and will get a shoulder mount of the bull, to boot.
Chances for the Elk Conservation Raffle cost $25 each, or six chances may be purchased for $100, but there is no limit on the number of chances that may be purchased.
And all proceeds from the raffle will stay in Pennsylvania to be used among other things to improve habitat for the state’s elk.
The Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission will conduct the raffle, which was authorized by a state law that became effective last year.
The raffle winner may not transfer the elk-hunting opportunity to another party. A Pennsylvania general hunting license, as well as an elk hunting license is needed to participate in the hunt. The license holder also is subject to a background check, and prior game-law violations might prevent the license from being awarded.
Pennsylvania Elk Conservation Raffle tickets may be purchased several ways. They can be purchased online by 8 p.m. on Aug. 14 at KECA’s website;, with payment made by credit card via PayPal. They also can be purchased at the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo or at the Elk Country Visitor Center.
Purchased ticket stubs must be postmarked and returned by Aug. 7, if mailed to KECA. 
The winner of the Pennsylvania Elk Conservation Raffle will be selected during a public drawing held at the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo at 1 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the Elk Country Visitor Center. The winner does not need to attend the drawing to win.
The conservation license can be used from Sept. 1 to Nov. 7, 2015. The winner of the Pennsylvania Elk Conservation Raffle will be permitted to hunt in all elk management units open to elk hunting.
The lucky winner can enjoy a six-day fully guided hunt donated by Elk County Outfitters. The guided hunt includes meals and lodging and guide service.
A fully donated shoulder mount has been offered by Cessna’s Taxidermy, of DuBois. And, as an added bonus, the hunt will be filmed by the camera crew from TomBob Outdoors, Friends in Wild Places Adventures Series to be aired on national TV. TomBob Outdoors operates out of Ridgway, Pa.
The guide service, taxidermy and film crew are available if the hunter chooses to participate.  There is no obligation to use the guide service, taxidermists or the film crew; it is the hunter’s choice.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2015 Doe Tags

 Resident antlerless deer license applications will be accepted by county treasurers beginning July 13, 2015
Resident Antlerless Deer License Applications
Purchase a License
Locate a Pink Envelope
Find a pink envelope
View Application Schedule
Check License Availability
Check License Availability
Find County Treasurer Address
Disease Mgmt. Area 2 Permits
Complete an Application

Check Application Status
Check the status of your application
Wildlife Management Unit Map