At their recent meeting, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to the 2018-19 hunting/trapping seasons, and a lot more.
The first bit of news is that the agency increased the antlerless deer allocation from 804,000 licenses last season, to 838,000 for the upcoming seasons.
Locally, Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 5C remained the same at 70,000. Other local WMUs include: 5B, 58,000 (57,000); 5D, 28,000 (30,000).
Weather permitting, this weekend brings a smorgasbord of hunting and angling opportunities.
Spring gobbler hunting season opens April 28 in Pennsylvania and at the same time, shad have started their spawning run up the Delaware River. And right behind them, striped bass are entering the lower Delaware River and all along the New Jersey shore during their spring spawn run.
For properly licensed junior hunters, Saturday, April 21 marks the annual youth spring turkey hunt in Pennsylvania. It’s a special opportunity for youth to get a shot at a gobbler before the regular statewide season opens April 28.
And when junior and adult hunters go afield for the spring gobbler season that ends May 31, the prospects of connecting with a long-beard are good according to Mary Jo Casalena, PGC wild turkey biologist.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released the final tally for the 2017 bear harvest, showing it was the ninth-best-of-all-time bear take. And this, despite having one of the worst opening days due to rain and in some areas sleet and fog which drove hunters out of the woods and into their vehicles.
According to the PGC, hunters took 3,438 bears in the 2017 seasons. Within that, 493 were in the archery season and 1,083 during the extended season. All setting records for those seasons. The all-time bear harvest of 4,350 bears occurred in 2011 says the PGC.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released the 2017-18 deer harvest report and it shows the buck harvest has increased 10 percent. And that’s not all. Their report also shows the overall deer harvest was up 10 percent.
During the past deer hunting seasons, hunters took an estimated 367,159 deer, which surpassed the overall deer harvest of 333,254 during the 2016-17 seasons. The PGC points out that over the 23 Wildlife Management Units, the deer harvest decreased in only three units.
With some sun and warmer temperatures, the snow we had last week should hopefully melt enough to allow access to area stream banks and lake shores for the Saturday, March 31, regional trout opener in 18 southeastern counties.
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission adds that their Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters program stocks 21 streams across the state with 14-20-inch trout. The trout, they say, will be stocked at a rate of 175-225 per mile. Anglers are invited to visit the agency’s website to see the list of these selected waters.
Saturday, March 24, kicks off the Mentored Youth Trout Days whereby youngsters under age 16 can join a mentor (adult) with a valid fishing license and trout stamp to fish stocked waters within 18 southeastern regional counties before the opening of trout season. This opportunity gives the kids a chance to catch a trout before the crush of anglers on opening day, March 31 in 18 southeastern counties of Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.
Despite the snow we had, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s fleet of trout stocking trucks are on a roll. They’ve been planting trout in area streams and lakes for the regional season opener March 31. There’s also the Mentored Youth Trout Opener March 24 where kids get a chance to catch a trout or two before the crowds of opening day take over.
For avid saltwater anglers who are anxious to hit the surf and waves for really big fish, the annual mid-Atlantic saltwater fishing show returns to New Jersey, albeit at a different location.
The Saltwater Fishing Expo, now in its 12th year, is moving to a brand-new location, delivering an even bigger and better event for consumers, said Tod Alberto, show director.
If you’re a snow goose hunter, or just a wildlife photographer, you both can shoot thousands of snow geese by trekking on down to upper Berks County.
There’s a large field behind Sittler’s Golf Center and Haldeman Ford on Route 222 outside Kutztown and on Kutztown Road. As I drove past there at 12:20 p.m. last week, the field behind these two businesses was a sea of white, that on first view took on the appearance of snow. But instead, was a few thousand snow geese feeding there with smaller flocks continuing to come in from the East to join them.