Preliminary 2019-20 hunting, trapping seasons approved

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has given preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2019-20 license year.

Modifications proposed for the 2019-20 seasons include: moving the opening day of the firearms deer season to the Saturday following Thanksgiving, creating a 13-day season that includes three Saturdays; shortening to two days the late November turkey seasons to accommodate a Saturday firearms deer opener; expanding the mid-October muzzleloader and special firearms deer seasons to include bears statewide; increasing to two weeks the length of the statewide archery bear season and shifting it to the two weeks following the muzzleloader and special firearms bear seasons; expanding four-day extended bear seasons to six days in most wildlife management units (WMUs) where they are held; establishing a September archery season and a January antlerless season for elk hunters; expanding bobcat hunting and trapping seasons to WMU 4B; extending fisher trapping opportunity to WMU 4A; increasing the season limit on beavers from 20 to 40 in WMUs 2A and 2B; and reducing the length of the porcupine season by about 10 weeks statewide.

The public may offer comments on all proposed 2019-20 seasons and bag limits, as well as other board actions, between now and the board’s next quarterly meeting when 2019-20 seasons and bag limits will be finalized, and antlerless license allocations will be determined.

The board’s next quarterly meeting is scheduled to be held April 8 and 9 at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters.

Following are several articles on meeting highlights.

SPLIT FIREARMS DEER SEASONS UP FOR APPROVAL

The Board of Game Commissioners adopted a slate of deer seasons for 2019-20, proposing a split, six-day antlered deer season (Nov. 30-Dec. 6) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 7-14) in 20 Wildlife Management Units. The list includes WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B. The package also retains the full-season (Nov. 30-Dec. 14) concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D.

The preliminarily adopted season would start on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, rather than on Monday.

Hunters with Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) antlerless deer permits may use the permits on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season and would continue to be allowed to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 30-Dec. 6 in 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.90 for residents and $35.90 for nonresidents.

DMAP permits also may be transferred to Mentored Hunting Program participants.

The board retained the antler restrictions that have been in place for adult and senior license holders since the 2011-12 seasons. It remains the “three-up” on one side, not counting a brow tine, provision for the western Wildlife Management Units of 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D, and the three points on one side in all other WMUs. Those exempt from these antler restrictions are mentored youth hunters, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active-duty military on leave.

Once again this year, the commissioners gave tentative approval to concurrent hunting of antlered and antlerless deer in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D during most seasons, with the first segment of the archery season to run from Sept. 21 to Nov. 29 in those WMUs.

All preliminarily approved seasons and bag limits will be brought back to the April meeting for a final vote.

FALL TURKEY

SEASON CHANGES MOVE FORWARD

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners have given preliminary approval to fall turkey seasons for 2019 and spring gobbler dates for 2020.

All recommendations on fall turkey season length are made in accordance with guidelines in the Game Commission’s Wild Turkey Management Plan.

With final approval at the board’s next quarterly meeting, the fall season in WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B would be one week (Nov. 2-Nov. 9), plus a two-day Thanksgiving season (Nov. 28 and 29).

In WMU 1B, the season would remain one week (Nov. 2-9), with no Thanksgiving season.

In WMU 2B (shotgun and bow only), the season would run from Nov.2-22 and Nov. 28 and 29.

In WMU 2C, the season would be Nov. 2-22 and Nov. 28 and 29.

In WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E, the season would be Nov. 2-16 and Nov. 28 and 29.

In WMU 5A, the season would be from Nov. 7-9.

In WMU 5B, the season would be from Nov. 5-7.

And in WMUs 5C and 5D, the season would remain closed for the fall seasons.

For the 2020 spring gobbler season, which is proposed to run from May 2-30, the board continued with legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from May 2-May 16, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon; and from May 18-30, hunters may hunt all day, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

The board proposed holding the one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt on April 25, 2020, which will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. All junior license holders and Mentored Youth Hunting Program permit holders can participate in this special half-day hunt, as well as the other spring season dates.

PROPOSED 2019-20 HUNTING SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license, and mentored youth – Oct. 5-Oct. 19 (6 daily, 18 in possession limit after first day).

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Oct. 19-Nov. 29; Dec. 16-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (6 daily, 18 possession).

RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 19-Nov. 29 and Dec. 16-24 (2 daily, 6 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail) Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license: Oct. 5-Oct. 19 (4 daily, 12 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 19-Nov. 29, Dec. 16-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (4 daily, 12 possession).

PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license – Oct. 12-19 (2 daily, 6 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 4E and 5A. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs. There is no open season for taking pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, except within the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, as authorized by executive order.

PHEASANT: Oct. 26-Nov. 29, Dec. 16-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (2 daily, 6 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 4E and 5A. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs There is no open season for taking pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, except within the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, as authorized by executive order.

BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 19-Nov. 29, Dec. 16-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (8 daily, 24 possession).

HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES: Dec. 26-Jan. 1, in all WMUs (1 daily, 3 possession).

WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except on Sundays and during the regular firearms deer seasons. No limit.

CROWS: July 5-April 12, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. No limit.

STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer season. No limit.

WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): WMU 1B – Nov.2-Nov. 9; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) – Nov. 2-Nov. 22 and Nov. 28-29 WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B, – Nov.2-Nov. 9 and Nov. 28 and 29; WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E- Nov.2-Nov. 16 and Nov. 28 and 29; WMU 2C – Nov.2-Nov. 22 and Nov. 28 and 29; WMU 5A – Nov. 7-9; WMU 5B – Nov. 5-7; WMUs 5C and 5D – CLOSED TO FALL TURKEY HUNTING.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth- April 25, 2020. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): May 2-May 30, 2020. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may be only taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.) From May 2-16, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 18-30, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D): Sept. 21-Nov. 29. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY (WMU 5B): Oct. 5-Nov. 16. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY (Statewide): Oct. 28-Nov. 9. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR, MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 19-26. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR, SPECIAL FIREARMS (Statewide): Oct. 24-26, Junior and Senior License Holders, Mentored Youth Permit Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 23-27. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 1B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 5A): Nov. 30-Dec. 7. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 30-Dec. 14. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty military.

ELK, ARCHERY: Sept. 14-28

ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Nov. 4-9. Only one elk may be taken during the license year.

ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 11-16. Only one elk may be taken during the license year. Eligible elk license recipients who haven’t harvested an elk by Nov. 9, in designated areas.

ELK, LATE (Antlerless only): Jan. 4-11, 2020

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 21- Nov. 29 and Dec. 26-Jan. 25, 2020. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct.5-Nov. 16 and Dec. 26-Jan. 11. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 30-Dec. 14. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B: Nov. 30-Dec. 6. One antlered deer per hunting license year. (Holders of valid DMAP antlerless deer permits may harvest antlerless deer on DMAP properties during this period.)

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B: Dec. 7-14. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS SPECIAL FIREARMS (Statewide): Oct. 24-26. Junior and Senior License Holders, Mentored Youth Permit Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 19-26. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 11. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D): Dec. 26-Jan. 25. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS EXTENDED REGULAR FIREARMS: (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties): Dec. 26-Jan. 25. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

PROPOSED 2019-20 FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS

COYOTES: No closed season. Unlimited. Outside of any big game season (deer, bear, elk and turkey), coyotes may be taken with a hunting license or a furtaker license, and without wearing orange. During any big game season, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting big game or with a furtaker license.

RACCOONS and FOXES: Oct. 26-Feb. 22, unlimited.

OPOSSUM, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: No closed season, except Sundays. No limits.

BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Jan. 11-Feb. 5. One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

PORCUPINES: Oct. 12-Feb.1, 2020. (3 daily, season limit of 10).

PROPOSED 2019-20 TRAPPING SEASONS

MINKS and MUSKRATS: Nov. 23-Jan. 12. Unlimited.

COYOTES, FOXES, OPOSSUMS, RACCOONS, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: Oct. 27-Feb. 23. No limit.

COYOTES and FOXES, CABLE RESTRAINTS (Statewide): Dec. 26-Feb. 23. No limit. Participants must pass cable restraint certification course.

BEAVERS (Statewide): Dec. 26-March 31 (Limits vary depending on WMU).

BOBCATS (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 21-Jan. 12.

One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

FISHERS (WMUs 1B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 21-Jan. 2. One fisher per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

RIVER OTTERS (WMUs 3C and 3D): Feb. 15-22, 2020. One river otter per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

PROPOSED 2019-20 FALCONRY SEASONS

SQUIRRELS (combined) Sept. 2-March 31, 2020 (6 daily, 18 possession)

BOBWHITE QUAIL Sept. 2-March 31, 2020 (8 daily, 24 possession)

RUFFED GROUSE Sept. 2-March 31, 2020 (2 daily, 6 possession)

COTTONTAIL RABBITS Sept. 2-March 31, 2020 (4 daily, 12 possession)

SNOWSHOE OR VARYING HARES Sept. 2-March 31, 2020 (1 daily, 3 possession)

RINGNECK PHEASANTS (Male or Female combined): Sept. 2-March 31, 2020 (6 daily, 18 possession)

No open season on other wild birds or mammals.

Waterfowl and Migratory Game Bird seasons to be established in accordance with federal regulations at a later date.

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