WILKES-BARRE — The way hunters apply for Pennsylvania antlerless deer permits is about to change for the first time in decades.
Senate Bill 431, which would allow hunters to purchase antlerless licenses through the HuntFishPA automated licensing service, was signed into law this week.
When it comes into effect with license year 2023-24, woodfree licenses will be available for purchase online or in person from any licensing agent.
The Game Commission, hunting organizations including the National Deer Association, Pennsylvania Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists and others, and hunters of all Days backed the bill, championing it as the final step in comprehensive licensing sales modernization.
Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said, “We thank Pennsylvania lawmakers for addressing this issue and we look forward to implementing a system that provides excellent customer service to our hunters. Our mission here at the Game Commission is twofold, to manage and protect wildlife and their habitats, but also to promote hunting and trapping for current and future generations. Modernizing the way we sell woodfree licenses helps us achieve both.
Until now, hunters have applied for antlerless permits by mail, sending those familiar pink envelopes to county treasurers, the only entity authorized to sell them. They had to do it on a set schedule, with varying deadlines depending on state residency and sales rounds, using an envelope stamped with your address and paper checks, which is increasingly alien to some hunters.
In short, there were a lot of variables at play, and it sometimes led to issues with whether or not hunters got permits.
Given all of this, the pink envelope system was seen by many as a barrier to participation in the hunt, especially when it comes to recruiting new hunters. Allowing woodless license sales through HuntFishPA will resolve these issues.
Prior to the start of the next license year, the Game Commission will inform hunters of the application process for an antlerless license under the new system.
The DCNR is modernizing reservations
system for campsites in the national forest
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger announced this week that State Forest campsites have moved to a more user-friendly registration system. and modern from 3 November.
“We’re looking to improve the state forest camping experience by moving to a more modern self-registration process like the one we use for state park camping reservations,” Dunn said. “This will allow for a more convenient experience that will provide real-time availability information to potential campers who wish to plan an outdoor excursion to our beautiful natural spaces.”
Reservations for camping in state forests are currently made by visiting a district state forest office and requesting a permit from the district forestry staff. The number of camping permits issued has doubled over the past five years, creating a need for electronic records and reports to help district forestry staff effectively manage camping conditions, perform necessary maintenance, and provide on-site alerts regarding site-specific conditions that may occur, including the road. closures, floods and other emergencies.
All designated roadside campsites, camping areas and horseback riding areas will be available through the reservation system. Undesignated motorized camping will no longer be permitted.
Those looking to make reservations will be able to view campsite information, location and photos online and reserve a campsite.
Designated campsites will be made available through the Pennsylvania State Parks and State Forests reservation system, the ReserveAmerica call center from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday (888-PA-PARKS ( 888-727-2757) and the ReserveAmerica camping app, and forest district office in which you wish to camp.
Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance until noon on the day of arrival, depending on campsite availability.
There will be an overnight fee of $10 for Pennsylvania residents and $15 for non-residents, along with a $6.50 transaction fee to cover the costs of operating the systems. The new system will allow credit cards for camping and other permits, such as firewood and ATVs. There will still be no fees for trailside camping, backpacking camping, and camping on water trails.
The revenue generated from the fees will be directed towards the maintenance, improvement and conservation of the sites and the associated recreational opportunities. Fees may be waived for volunteers during work projects.
For more information on state forests, visit the DCNR website.
PFBC: cold weather life vest
the requirement is now in effect
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) reminds boaters, anglers and hunters that the annual cold weather life jacket requirement is in effect.
From November 1 through April 30, boaters are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or on any kayak, canoe or paddle board. The requirement applies to all Pennsylvania waters.
“The fall and winter seasons are filled with outdoor opportunities that can be enjoyed on the water, including fishing, waterfowl hunting and scenic foliage tours,” said Ryan Walt, responsible for the safety of CBFP boats and craft. “Whatever activity you participate in, boaters should be aware that the water temperature begins to drop rapidly at this time of year, and even on sunny days when the air temperature is comfortable. and hot, the water is already cold enough to cause cold water shock, hypothermia and be life threatening. A life jacket can keep your head above water until help arrives.
Sudden cold water immersion, or cold water shock, occurs when a person is unexpectedly immersed in cold water, resulting in involuntary gasping where the water is often inhaled. This uncontrollable reaction causes panic, hyperventilation, water inhalation and inhibits a person’s ability to swim.
According to boating accident reports in Pennsylvania, nearly 80% of all boating fatalities have occurred because boaters were not wearing life jackets. Prior to the enactment of this lifejacket requirement in 2012, a disproportionate number of deaths occurred between November and April. Since then, the Commission has seen a significant drop in the percentage of boating incidents resulting in fatalities during the cold weather months.
The CBFP also recommends that anglers participating in ice fishing this winter always wear a life jacket to provide vital protection in the event of a fall through the ice.
To learn more, visit the Water Safety and Wear It Pennsylvania pages on the PFBC website.
Pennsylvania DCNR and USDA Forest Service
sign a shared stewardship agreement
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Forestry Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service signed an agreement this week to advance shared stewardship, furthering their commitment to collaborative land management efforts throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The signatories to the agreement were Ellen Shultzabarger, Pennsylvania State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry and Randy Moore, USDA Forest Service Chief.
The agreement establishes a framework that allows the state and the Forest Service to work collaboratively on forest management, achieve mutual goals, promote common interests, and respond effectively to the growing set of challenges facing facing Pennsylvania’s communities, landscapes and natural resources.
“The opportunities and challenges, such as invasive species and pests and adaptation to climate change, that our forests face are best addressed by working together at the landscape level,” Shultzabarger said. “This agreement builds on the long history of collaboration between the Commonwealth and the USDA Forest Service. It is symbolic that we sign it at the offices used by Gifford Pinchot, as it helps to strengthen and advance his legacy of forest conservation in Pennsylvania.
“Shared stewardship is a way of doing business that emphasizes a collaborative approach to land management. It puts a renewed emphasis on collaboration across jurisdictions to address the challenges of shared landscapes,” Moore said. “This agreement will strengthen our partnership and make our working relationship even stronger. Together, we will use new science and planning tools to identify shared conservation priorities and develop transboundary strategies that have landscape-scale impacts.
Federal, state and private land managers in Pennsylvania face a series of pressing challenges, including outbreaks of invasive insects and diseases, the invasion of non-native invasive plants, and the increased risk of wildfires and disasters. floods. The new agreement sets the stage to address these challenges with proactive measures across all territories, including:
Improve and restore forest health and resilience
Reducing wildfire risk through prevention, treatment and suppression
Managing forests to improve the overall health and resilience of native species and ecosystems
Support a diversified forest products industry and measured economic development strategies that maintain the productivity of working forests.
Protecting watersheds to ensure an abundant supply of clean water and help fight floods
Continue to provide quality and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities