Pennsylvania: Board of Commissioners Advance Proposals to Expand Hunter Opportunity

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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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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