Second chance for a buck
If you're like me and still have an unfilled buck tag, we'll get another shot at one during the late deer season that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 12. Of course you must use a bow or muzzleloader rifle in all parts of the state.
For those with unfilled antlerless tags, those may be used in the specific WMUs they were purchased for or, an antlerless deer may be taken anywhere with the general hunting license but that ends the deer hunting season for those who do.
If hunting in WMUs 2B, 5D and here in 5C, you may hunt antlerless deer with any legal sporting arm from Dec. 26 to Jan. 26, or, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 26 for antlered or antlerless deer but with a muzzleloader. Archers can take both species in these WMUs from Jan. 14-26.
Small game hunters also get additional opportunities when squirrel reopened Dec. 10 and runs to Dec. 24 then again from Dec. 26-Feb. 23. The late ruffed grouse season runs Dec. 10-24, Dec. 26-Jan. 26; rabbit, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 23; and snowshoe hare, Dec. 26-Jan. 1 in WMUs 2B, 2G, and 3A.
If you can find any, and good luck trying, both male and female pheasants may be hunted from Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 2 in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4D, 5C and 5D.
To these seasons may be added doves that run Dec. 26-Jan. 5 with hunting hours allowed from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset with a daily limit of 15 birds.
If you're a waterfowl hunter, Canada geese and white-fronted geese have the following seasons: Atlantic Population Zone, Dec. 13-Jan. 26; Southern James Bay Zone, Dec. 10-Jan. 18; and Resident Canada Goose Zone, Dec. 11-Jan. 15 and Feb. 1-28.
Snow geese have arrived here in the Lehigh Valley area. There were what appeared to be about 1000 of them in a field off Route 33 in Bethlehem this past week. And their season runs until Jan. 26 in the Atlantic Population Zone, until Jan. 18 in the Southern James Bay Zone and until Feb. 28 in the Regular Population Goose Zone. Whew! You almost need a Smartphone to remember these dates and species to ensure you're legal.
To hunt snow geese, sportsmen need to obtain a free special permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (online) and have a federal duck stamp in addition to a hunting license.
Farmers are more likely to allow snow goose hunters to hunt their fields since snows can wipe out a winter wheat field in a few days.
LOWER WOODS POND
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has found it necessary to draw down Lower Woods Pond in Lebanon Township, Wayne County that is situated off Route 371 and within SGL #159.
According to the PF&BC, the draw down is necessary because the earthen dam structure does not meet current dam safety standards.
"Failure of the dam does not appear to be imminent, but the dam's earthen embankment and spillway doesn't meet current engineering or regulatory standards," said Jack Rokavec, PFBC chief of engineering. "In addition, observed seepage (which was occurring at Leaser Lake in Lehigh County) paths may be indicative of internal erosion which could represent a serious dam safety condition."
The 91-acre lake is a popular bass fishing spot for Lehigh Valley anglers who don't mind the long drive there but where there normally is less angler traffic.
In preparation for this and to reduce the number of fish in the lake, the PFBC has temporarily lifted all seasons, sizes and creel limits and is encouraging anglers to take responsible advantage of this. This temporary regulation takes effect immediately and will remain in place through March 31, 2013.
As a result of the draw down, the boat ramp has been closed but anglers who have a canoe, inflatable or kayak, can still carry their craft to the water. But if you plan to fish there from boat, better do it before ice-up.