Sunday, May 21, 2017


HARRISBURG, PA - The Pennsylvania Game Commission tested 5,707 deer and 110 elk for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during 2016.
Twenty-five wild deer tested positive for CWD. All of the wild CWD-positive deer were in or near Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2), the only area of the state where CWD has been detected in the wild. These 25 deer more than doubled the number of CWD-positive deer detected in DMA 2 from 2012 to 2015.
Through 2016, 47 wild deer have tested positive for CWD in DMA 2.
Each year, the Game Commission collects CWD samples from hunter-harvested animals, road-kills, escaped captive cervids, and any cervid showing signs of CWD.
Since 2002, the Game Commission has tested over 61,000 deer for CWD. Although samples are collected from across the state, efforts were increased within the three Disease Management Areas (DMAs), which are areas in the state where CWD has been identified in wild and/or captive deer. These include: DMA 1 in parts of Adams and York counties in which CWD was identified on a captive deer farm in 2012; DMA 2 in parts of Bedford, Blair, Somerset, Fulton, Cambria, and Huntingdon counties where CWD has been identified in multiple wild deer since 2012 and recently on three captive deer facilities; and DMA 3 in Jefferson and Clearfield counties where CWD was detected on two captive deer facilities in 2014.
The 25 new CWD-positive wild deer were part of 1,652 deer samples collected within DMA 2 during 2016. CWD-positive deer included 13 road-killed deer, 10 hunter-harvested deer, and two deer showing signs consistent with CWD.
No CWD positive wild deer were detected in DMA 1, DMA 3, or the remainder of the state in 2016 or in any previous year.
During late 2016 and early 2017, CWD also was identified on three captive deer farms in the southcentral part of the state in Bedford, Fulton, and Franklin counties. These are the first detections of CWD-positive captive deer within DMA 2. Additional information on these recent positives in captive cervids and the CWD surveillance and response program in captive deer can be found through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
As a result of new detections in wild deer and cervid captive facilities, DMA 2 boundaries will be expanded, though the changes are not yet final. The eastward expansion will include the area around the captive facility in Franklin County where a CWD-positive deer was detected.
Within DMAs, special regulations are in place to reduce the risk of CWD spreading to other areas. These regulations include restrictions on transporting deer carcasses, feeding deer, and use of urine-based deer lures.
CWD not only is a threat to Pennsylvania’s deer, but also the elk herd; however, no positives have been detected in our elk herd to date. During 2016, 110 wild elk were tested for CWD, including hunter-harvested animals and elk exhibiting clinical signs consistent with CWD.

How much woods technology is too much?

Image result for electronic turkey call

How much is too much when it comes to technology in the hunting woods? 
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is debating that right now.
Three manufacturers and retailers of electronic products approached Game Commissioners earlier this year to ask that those items be made legal for hunting.
Jonathan Kalasinski of Heated Hunts in Clarks Summit makes a battery-operated scent dispenser. Users load up to one ounce of deer urine or other scents in the device then turn it on. Heated vapors escape and, presumably, attract game.
The fact that Pennsylvania doesn't currently permit them is putting his 7-month-old company “at risk,” Kalasinski said.
Sheri Baity of Crow's Nest Calls in Covington asked that hunters be allowed to use the Nite Site scope-mounted lights she sells at her predator hunting website. They are not infrared and do not track an animal's heat signature, she said. Nor do they make a rifle more accurate.
They do, however, allow hunters — typically out at night after coyotes and the like — to see entire targets. That, she said, promotes safety.
“I have found that when using the lighting (currently) allowed for coyote hunting, the eyes of the animal are illuminated. But the rest of the body is still a shadowy figure,” Baity said.
“I don't feel it allows the whole target to be safely and positively identified.”
Finally, Mike Dillon, general manager of FoxPro in Lewistown, asked commissioners to legalize electronic turkey calls. Five other states already permit them, he said.
Electronic turkey calls are not, as some believe, as effective as mouth or hand calls, Dillon said. But they do make it possible for beginners to get in the woods sooner. They're also safer, he said.
“By positioning the call away from a turkey hunter, the risk of being shot by another hunter is minimized,” Dillon said.
Commissioners had questions. Some centered around fair chase.
Another focused on what might be called woodsmanship.
Commissioner Jim Daley of Butler County said learning to use a turkey hand or mouth call takes time and practice. That extends the season.
“But I think you're going to lose that long-term commitment to turkey hunting when a person only has to put a new battery in and turn it on,” Daley said.
The rules regarding electronics previously have been updated to allow for hearing amplification devices, laser rangefinders and lighted nocks, among other things. Perhaps it's time to look at them again, Kalasinski said.
Commissioners agreed. They tasked agency staff with looking into the products and coming back with recommendations, perhaps as early as the board's June meeting.
“I think it's time we take a look at it, review it, see if there is any way we can introduce some of these devices as long as the resources are kept in mind,” said commissioner Tim Layton of Somerset County.
Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Apprentice hunting program passes committee test

By John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Under the Mentored Youth Hunting program, a kid age 11 or under -- too young even to take the Hunter-Trapper Education Course -- can legally hunt limited species if she’s closely accompanied by an adult mentor 21 or over and in ownership of a Mentored Youth Hunting Permit, which costs $2.90.
An adult age 18 or over who has not taken the hunter education course and never owned a hunting license in Pennsylvania or elsewhere can legally hunt all game animals except antlered deer if he’s accompanied by an adult mentor and in ownership of a Mentored Adult Hunting Permit, which costs $20.90, same as an adult resident license.
But what about would-be hunters age 12 to 16 who just want to experience a hunt to see if it’s as thrilling as they’ve heard?
Late last month the state House Committee on Game and Fisheries unanimously passed a bill that would expand Pennsylvania’s mentored hunting program to include hunters who are 12 to 16 years old. Sponsored by Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus member Neil Goodman, D-Schuylkill, House Bill 485 is among dozens of apprentice hunting initiatives nationwide designed to expand hunting recruitment, particularly in youn ger generations, and maintain a sustainable stream of conservation funding. Often referred to nationally as Families Afield programs, they have recruited nearly 2 million apprentice hunters who supporters claim are statistically more than five times safer than the general hunting population.
“Not only will this legislation make it much easier for parents and young people to be exposed to hunting, it’s also a great example of how policymaking around hunting and fishing issues can bridge the political divide,” said Robb Miller, advisor to Gov. Tom Wolf on hunting, fishing and conservation, in a statement. “Next, we’ll turn our attention to having House Bill 485 voted before the full House and sent to the Senate for consideration.”

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Women In The Outdoors Event At Bull Creek June 3rd 2017!


Women ages 14 and over are discovering a world all of their own; the National Wild Turkey Federation's Women in the Outdoors program was created just for them. Today millions of women enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, fIShing, shooting, hiking, and more. 

By becoming a member of Women in the Outdoors, you'll join a network of women who share the same hobbies and interests. You'll learn new skills, tune up existing ones, and make memories that last a lifetime in a relaxed, non-competitive environment. 

Spread the word to your mom, sister, friend or co-worker. Bring them all to the Allegheny Valley Chapter event for a fun and exciting day of learning and fellowship. Ages 14-17 must be accompanied with an adult. Pre-registration is required

What Will Be Provided: 
* Choice of 4 expertly instructed classes 
* Continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages 
* Equipment & materials needed for classes 
* A 1-year $35 membership in the NWTF 
* 1-year subscription to Turkey Country magazine and Turkey Talk 

Please print the following 2 forms and mail, click on the images to enlarge: