Saturday, December 21, 2013

Late-Season PA Deer Hunters Reminded Of Regulatory Changes

Antlerless-only firearms season to open after Christmas, but only in six counties.

Some areas in which hunters previously were permitted to use in-line muzzleloaders and
slug guns to hunt antlerless deer in the late season will be closed to such hunting in the season that awaits. 

          In previous years, an after-Christmas firearms season for antlerless deer was held in three Wildlife Management Units (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) that included counties under special regulations for deer hunting.

          This year, that antlerless-only late firearms season is open only in those special-regulations counties – not in the entire WMU in which they are located.

          That means hunters taking part in the firearms season need to verify the locations they plan to hunt are within those special-regulations counties to assure compliance with the new rules.

          The antlerless-only firearms season runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 25, and is open only in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

          Other counties within the same WMUs as the above-listed counties are not open to firearms hunting. They include those parts of Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties found in WMU 2B; and parts of Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh and Northampton counties found in WMU 5C. Counties in WMU 5D all are special-regulations counties. 

          The counties in which special regulations apply also have unique rules regarding the sporting arms and ammunition that can be used during the firearms season. 

          All hunters taking part in this special-regulations antlerless deer season should consult Page 56 of the 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest for a breakdown of permitted arms and ammunition, as well as other regulations that apply during the late seasons.
          The antlerless-only late firearms season in special regulations areas runs concurrently with the late archery and flintlock muzzleloader seasons in those areas.

          Outside of special regulations areas, the late archery and flintlock muzzleloader seasons run from Dec. 26 to Jan. 11.

          Unlike the late firearms season, the late archery and flintlock muzzleloader seasons are not antlerless-only seasons. Properly licensed hunters can harvest either antlered or antlerless deer during those seasons. 

          Additionally, a hunter with an unused antlered deer tag, which is included as part of a general hunting license, may harvest an antlerless deer with a flintlock muzzleloader during the flintlock muzzleloader season. Hunters must have a valid muzzleloader license to participate in the flintlock muzzleloader season.

          Hunters must have a valid antlerless license or Deer Management Assistance Program permit to participate in the late firearms season, and the license or permit must be valid in the specific part of the special regulations area being hunted. For instance, an antlerless license issued for WMU 2B may only be used within WMU 2B. While most Allegheny County lies within WMU 2B, a hunter taking part in the late firearms season in the portion of Allegheny County that lies within WMU 2A must have either a valid antlerless license for WMU 2A, or a DMAP permit for a specific property in Allegheny County. 

          There also are different fluorescent orange requirements depending on whether a hunter is participating in the late firearms season or other late deer seasons. Only late-season firearms hunters are required to wear fluorescent orange, and they must wear at all times a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the head, chest and back combined, and the orange must be visible from 360 degrees. 

          Hunters participating in the late archery and flintlock muzzleloader seasons are not required to wear fluorescent orange, but within the special-regulations they are encouraged to do so, given that a firearms deer season is taking place simultaneously.

          Given the different requirements that might apply to individual hunters, it’s clear that taking time to review regulations is an important step in these late-season hunts, Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said.

          “We’re happy to provide expanded opportunities in these areas of the state that require longer seasons to bring deer numbers closer to our population goals,” Roe said. “And as long as hunters make sure they’re up to speed on the existing regulations, I’m sure these late seasons will be a reward for many.”

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