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Pennsylvania Game Commission sets hunting seasons with a few changes

The upper Jordan Creek will be among three waters to be stocked next week
The upper Jordan Creek will be among three waters to be stocked next week
by Nick Hromiak

At their recent board meeting, the Pennsylvania Game Commissioners have approved the hunting/trapping seasons for the 2014-14, approved mentored adult hunting, an increase in broad head size and most significantly, approved an antlerless deer license allocation of 779,500 that is down 59,500 from last years 839,000 allocation.

Perusing the allocations per Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), it appears four of them (2D, 4A, 5A, 5D) stayed the same as last season while only 4B increased from 24,000 to 26,000.

Here in WMU 5C, the allocation went from 103,000 in 2013 to 95,000 for the 2014-15 seasons. This is a strong indication that the antlerless population is down, and coming inline with the PGC’s deer management plan for this high deer density unit.

Elsewhere within our southeastern region, WMU 3D went from 32,000 in 2013 to 25,000 in 2014; 4C went from 27,000 to 25,000; 5B dropped from 50,000 to 49,000.

The commissioners also changed the length of the firearms season in WMU 4A and WMU 4C, which encompasses portions of Dauphin, Lebanon, Schuylkill, Northumberland, Luzerne, Carbon, Lehigh and Berks counties. As such, sportsmen will have seven days of concurrent hunting for antlered and antlerless deer. In this format, says the PGC, only antlered deer may be taken during the first five days of the firearms season. But both antlered and antlerless deer may be taken from the first Saturday to the close of the season.

WMU’s 4A and 4C will have a split firearms season with a five-day antlered season (Dec. 1-5) and a seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 6-13) in 14 WMU’s. The split format is intended to increase deer numbers in WMU 4A and 4C. The package retains the two-week (Dec. 1-13) concurrent antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 5A, 5C and 5D.

Other board actions included issuing 108 elk licenses (27 antlered, 81 antlerless) for the 2014 season. The first drawing for these tags will be held Aug. 16 or 17 at Elk County Visitor Center in Elk County. That’s about a month earlier than last year’s drawing. Hunters may apply for the elk tag drawing when the regular hunting licenses go on sale in mid-June. Applications are then due by July 31.

The PGC Board also expanded the bear season in WMUs 2C and 4B whereupon bears could be taken during the four days in the deer season beginning the first Wednesday of the general deer season on Dec. 3.

Also retained was the extended bear seasons in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D where bears can be harvested during all deer seasons from September through early December, provided of course, hunters have a bear license.

The extended bear season for archery-only in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D is set for Sept. 20 – Nov. 15; archery only in 5B from Oct. 4 – Nov. 15; for muzzleloaders-only Oct. 18-25 in 2B, 5B, 5C, and 5D.

The statewide five-day archery bear season will run Nov. 17 and continue to Nov. 21 while the four-day statewide firearms season is set for Nov. 22 through Nov. 24-26.

As for fall turkey, it too has been altered somewhat in certain WMUs. The PGC says because of decreasing populations in WMUs 3A, 3B and 3C, there will be a two-week season instead of a three week season as in past years.

A three-day fall turkey season has been retained for 2014 in WMU 5A, but it has been shifted from midweek to a Thursday through Saturday time frame.

WEEK THREE TROUT FISHING REPORT

The weekend should be a dandy one on local streams and lakes. The Weather Channel is predicting rain for Friday evening but clearing by Saturday morning with partly sunny skies during the afternoon. Sunday is expected to have lots of sun with a daytime temperature close to 74. Friday’s rain should put a slight tinge to stream water, thereby making trout a little less spooky.

According to Bob Danenhower of Bob’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Orefield, his bait customers have been reporting catching-and-releasing upwards of 20 trout on Rosy red minnows during morning and afternoon hours. Danenhower suggests using light colored baits during bright days and darker baits on cloudy days.

And even though there are good numbers of (educated) trout remaining in local streams and Leaser Lake, the PF&BC will be stocking the upper Jordan (4-14), Lehigh Canal (4-17) and a portion of Monocacy Creek (4-16) in Lehigh and Northampton counties.