Game Commission’s FAQ for April
PGC COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (www.pgc.pa.gov)
In an effort to protect public health and to reduce the overall spread of COVID-19, all Pennsylvania Game Commission offices are currently closed to the public. Below are some frequently asked questions our agency has put together to help the public navigate the coming days and weeks.
The agency’s current building closure includes the headquarters in Dauphin County and region buildings across the state, as well as the visitors center at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County and Howard Nursery in Centre County. Purchases made online or by mail will not be filled until the offices reopens.
Are Pennsylvania Game Commission Public Shooting Ranges Currently Open?
No. As of March 20, 2020, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s shooting ranges on state game lands were closed until further notice. The closure includes rifle, shotgun, pistol and archery ranges. Maintaining the shooting ranges at this time is a non-essential priority for agency staff. The ranges require regular maintenance and attention. Additionally, many of these ranges can become very crowded and represent a potential risk to the spread of COVID-19. While it’s not known when the ranges will reopen, the decision to reopen the ranges will be announced by a future news release and on the agency’s social media pages. Visit www.pgc.pa.gov for updates.
Can the Public Access Pennsylvania State Game Lands?
Yes. Pennsylvania’s 1.6 million acres of state game lands are still open for public access, at this time. Being outdoors is good health care and self care; however, recommendations for social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 still apply. Refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s precautionary recommendations for outdoor recreation. Be safe and stay healthy!
Is Pennsylvania’s 2020 Spring Gobbler Season Scheduled to Occur as Originally Planned?
Yes. As of this time, no changes have been made to the established hunting seasons, including the 2020 Spring Gobbler Season. Please continue to check the agency’s website and social media pages for any updates regarding the season as we get closer to the starting date. The agency encourages hunters to follow the guidelines regarding social distancing throughout the season, and to refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s precautionary recommendations for outdoor recreation.
Are Pennsylvania Game Commission State Game Wardens Still on Duty?
Absolutely, yes. The Game Commission’s state game wardens and dispatchers are considered essential employees and are still working and responding to wildlife emergencies and more. As a reminder, regardless of the conditions brought on by COVID-19, it remains ILLEGAL to shoot game or wildlife, and all state laws, seasons and bag limits remain in effect. Report illegal wildlife activity to the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888-PGC-8001 or online at https://bit.ly/3airvh4.
In Response to COVID-19, is the Pennsylvania Game Commission Considering Additional Hunting Opportunities or Changes to Existing Hunting Regulations?
Absolutely not. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has no plans to suspend any hunting regulations, including seasons and bag limits, and game wardens will continue to enforce all state game laws. Pennsylvania’s hunting seasons, bag limits and regulations protect wildlife populations for the long-term. We will get through this pandemic together and the Game Commission appreciates the public’s compliance and support.
How Can a Wildlife Emergency be Reported?
Pennsylvania Game Commission Region Offices are closed to the public, but wildlife emergency calls can still be made to the office that serves the county in which the incident occurred. The phone numbers and a map can be found above.
Is the Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Education Course Available Online for Free?
Yes. Anyone, ages 11 and up, can register for Pennsylvania’s online Hunter-Trapper Education course for free, through April 30, 2020. All in-person Hunter-Trapper Education courses have also been cancelled through May 1, 2020. Those interested in registering must sign up online at: https://bit.ly/2UA6AzE. There will be a promo code, compliments of Kalkomey, the online service provider, that will allow you to take the course for free during the registration process. (The promo code is only valid for so many users at once. If the code doesn’t appear to work, please try again soon. It is updated on a daily basis.)
Where Can Information About the 2020 Trout Stocking Schedule and Updates to the Upcoming Fishing and Boating Seasons be Obtained?
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) manages all fishing and boating within the state of Pennsylvania. Visit www.fishandboat.com or contact PFBC for details.