By Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator
At their recent meeting, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved changing the start of the rifle season for deer to Saturday.
This year’s season will mark the first time in more than 50 years that the season will begin on a Saturday. The change will offer hunters an expanded 13-day season which will include three Saturdays, rather than two. The primary motivation for this change is to increase opportunities for sportsmen and women – a key factor in hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts.
Also discussed was a proposal to require applicants for Deer Control Permits to show proof of public hunting as a management tool in the areas that the permit applies to. Applicants for Permits are already required to use hunting for management purposes to be considered eligible. The proposed change would require a detailed report of hunting activities on the affected properties to ensure that hunters were in fact afforded an opportunity to help manage the deer population. The Board gave preliminary approval to the measure, which will come up for a final vote at their next meeting in July.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.75%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.25%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.25%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.75%)