HARRISBURG - As the spring gobbler season ends today, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe reminded hunters who harvested a spring gobbler to report their harvest using any one of the three methods offered by the agency.
While spring gobbler hunters using their general hunting license only must report if they harvested a bird, Roe emphasized that the more than 13,000 hunters who purchased a second spring gobbler license have a mandatory reporting requirement, regardless of whether they harvested a bird using this special license.
"Hunters can report both harvests or no harvest of their special spring gobbler license through the agency's website, through the toll-free telephone reporting system, or by using one of the pre-paid postage cards for turkey that appear in the annual Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest provided free to each license buyer," Roe said. "By offering these three options, the Game Commission is doing its part to make it easier for license buyers to report their required harvests and to help the agency better manage wildlife.
"Harvest reporting rates have been declining for years, and we're hoping these three reporting options make it easier for hunters to become more active in wildlife management and that reporting rates improve."
To report online, go to the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on "Report Your Harvest" in the upper right-hand corner, click on "You can link to PALS by clicking here," check "Harvest Reporting," scroll down and click on the "Start Here" button at the bottom of the page, choose the method of validating license information, and click on the checkbox for the harvest tag being reported. A series of options will appear for a hunter to report. After filling in the information, click on the "Continue" button to review the report and then hit the "Submit" button to complete the report. Failing to hit the "Submit" button will result in a harvest report not being completed. Also at the end of the process, hunters will be presented with a receipt page that they are encouraged to print for their records.
Hunters using the toll-free telephone reporting system can call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) number, which is 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681). Those using the toll-free number will receive a confirmation number, which they should write down and keep as proof of reporting. Callers should have their Customer Identification Number (hunting license number) and harvest or hunting information with them when they call, and they should speak clearly and distinctly when reporting harvests, especially when providing the Wildlife Management Unit number and letter.
"We certainly are encouraging hunters to use the online or telephone reporting system, which will ensure that their information is recorded," Roe said. "Either way, the more important point is that all hunters who harvest a spring gobbler or purchased a second spring gobbler license submit a report to the agency."
Dove hunters urged to
participate in study
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that a random-sample of Pennsylvania dove hunters soon will be receiving a national survey seeking input about their experiences and opinions on dove hunting.
Topics will include time spent hunting, demographics, constraints to hunting, and thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife. The survey is a cooperative effort by the state fish and wildlife agencies, all four flyway councils, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).
"This survey is being conducted as wildlife agencies and the USFWS want to include hunter opinions and preferences about seasons whenever possible," Roe said. "The survey results will be used in conjunction with the best science-based information for the management and conservation of our migratory bird resources.
"If you are a dove hunter and receive one of these surveys, we encourage you to complete it and return it as soon as possible to ensure that Pennsylvania hunter opinions are included in this national survey."
There are more than one million dove hunters nationally, with seasons in 40 states. In Pennsylvania, an estimated 19,900 hunters harvested more than 226,000 doves during the 2011 hunting season.
"We're surveying dove hunters in every state that has a dove season so they can give us their opinions on a variety of topics," said Dr. Ken Richkus of the USFWS's Population and Habitat Assessment Branch. "This approach will give us an excellent picture of mourning dove hunter thoughts and needs by state, region, and nationwide."
The National Dove Hunter Survey is scheduled to begin in late June 2012, and will be completed by the end of the year.
"We really hope each dove hunter who receives a survey takes the time to complete and return it in the postage-paid envelope provided," Richkus added. "Their answers are very important, and we appreciate their efforts to tell us what they think."
needed for bat study
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists are seeking assistance from residents in a regional monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer. This monitoring is especially important due to the mortalities in bat populations throughout the northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania, being caused by White-Nose Syndrome (WNS).
"WNS primarily kills during the winter, but the true impact of WNS on bat populations cannot be determined using estimates from winter hibernacula alone," said Calvin Butchkoski, Game Commission wildlife biologist. "Pennsylvanians can help us more fully gauge the impact of WNS on the landscape by hosting a bat count this summer. We are especially urging people who have ever conducted a bat count for the Game Commission in the past to redo a count this year."
To obtain applications and information on how to participate, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on "Wildlife" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, click on "Wildlife" in the drop-down menu, scroll down and choose "Pennsylvania Bats" in the Mammal section, and then click on "Appalachian Bat Count" in the Reference listing. Forms on the website guide interested participants through the steps of timing, conducting a survey and submitting their findings to the Game Commission. Scout groups, 4-H clubs, local environmental organizations, and individual homeowners can all participate in this important effort.
"Pennsylvania's two most common bat species, the little brown bat and the big brown bat, use buildings as their summer roosts," Butchkoski said. "Abandoned houses, barns, church steeples and even currently-occupied structures can provide a summer home to female bats and their young.
"Monitoring these 'maternity colonies' can give biologists a good idea of how bat populations in an area are doing from year to year. With the occurrence of WNS in Pennsylvania this year, monitoring these colonies is more important than ever."
Butchkoski noted that the fieldwork isn't difficult to do, and Pennsylvanians can play a huge role in helping the Game Commission get a better understanding of what is happening to bats this summer.
"We're looking for some help, and we hope you'll consider becoming part of the Appalachian Bat Count monitoring team," Butchkoski said. "It's a chance to make a difference for bats and to get involved in assessing the impact of WNS. Please consider lending a hand. Bats need you more than ever."
For more information on WNS, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on "Wildlife" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, click on "Wildlife" in the drop-down menu, scroll down and choose "White-Nose Syndrome" in the Wildlife Disease section. To report observations of sick or multiple dead bats, go to the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on "Report a Sick Bat" in the "Quick Clicks" box in the right-hand column of the homepage.
Road repairs to cause Scotia Range users to take detour
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission officials today announced that much-needed road improvements to Scotia Range Road on State Game Land 176, in Centre County, that is used to access the public shooting range from the east will require those who want to use the Scotia shooting range to use an alternate route.
The project is slated to begin on Monday, June 4, and be completed by the end of June. During this time, the only access to the complex will be from the west side of the Game Lands by using Gatesburg Road in Ferguson Township, Centre County.
The project involves the resurfacing of 2.9 miles of Scotia Range Road from the eastern side of SGL 176, closest to Circle View Road and Meek Lane, to the shooting range complex. The road will be closed to all traffic during construction except for the YHEC event on June 15-17, when both sections of the road will be open for participants and spectators.
The shooting range complex will remain open during construction; however, the only access to the complex will be from the west side of the Game Lands by using Gatesburg Road in Ferguson Township.