Statewide Firearms to Get Underway
Inside the Outdoors, November 27, 2009

November 30 marks the date hunters will be taking to the woods as the statewide firearms season for deer gets underway. Many hunters, some first-time sportsmen, will be heading for one of the 22 wildlife management units throughout the state.

For those who may be unfamiliar with WMUs, these are sections made up of various counties whereby hunters may go to seek out their wildlife of choice. Westmoreland County, for example is represented in three WMUs, 2B, 2C and 2D. Sportsmen can pinpoint exactly where these areas may be found by referring to the Hunting and Trapping Digest that comes with each hunting license.

Hunters centering their attention in 2B and 2C may do their hunting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. They are allowed to harvest one antlered and an antlerless deer with each required license. The other WMUs included in this period include 1A, 1B, 2A, 2E, 2F, 3A, 3B 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D. Those hunting the four remaining WMUs, 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B only have from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 to locate their deer.

Once again, motorists will catch glimpses of orange as they drive the many highways in the state as hunters are required to wear so much of the color for safety sake. In addition, the roadside berms will take on a new sight as vehicles will be parked at the wood’s outskirts signifying that the search is on for the four-legged creatures.

According to Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe, “Deer season has a dramatic effect on Pennsylvania; it provides hundreds of thousands of hunters a chance to put venison in the freezer, as well as stimulates a multi-million dollar economic surge that local businesses rely on.”

But there is more to it than just enthusiasts storing meat for future consumption. Roe went on to add, “Deer season is the most important method that the PGC has been using for more than a century to manage Pennsylvania’s whitetails. The efforts of hunters are far reaching, and they help to keep deer populations in check and enable the agency to meet deer management goals that benefit almost everyone who resides, visits or travels through this state.”

First time hunters should be advised that there are regulations one must follow in case mistake kills are made. According to the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest, “Any person who by accident or mistake kills any deer (an antlerless deer in mistake for a buck(antlered deer), or a buck in mistake for an antlerless deer, or a buck that does not meet required antler restrictions) shall immediately, but no later than 12 hours after the kill, deliver and surrender the entire carcass, less entrails, to any Game Commission officer in the county in which killed and make a written, sworn statement explaining when , where and how the accident or mistake occurred. Each licensed person who kills any deer shall immediately, and before moving the carcass, fully complete the proper tag in compliance with printed instructions and attach only the tag to the deer’s ear. Upon investigation, if the officer determines no carelessness or negligence was involved, the deer will be turned in to the officers, restitution of $25 for each mistake deer shall be paid, and the hunter will be issued another tag to pursue another deer.”

Keep in mind, deer must be tagged immediately after harvest and before the carcass is moved. It must be attached to the ear and remain there until the animal is processed for consumption or prepared for mounting, so states the PGC.

In reference to last week’s column of the proper care of a carcass, I received a report by a friend who conveyed a recent incident to me. He told me he was walking down one of the streets of Latrobe when he encountered bags of garbage with stickers on them. Beside them was a dead deer apparently killed in a vehicular accident. Here is the comical part. He noticed someone had placed a sticker on the animal. I asked Joe Bush, public works director of the city of Latrobe, if one was allowed to do that. He exclaimed, “NO WAY – and I thought I heard it all!!!” He then related that animals that are discarded in this manner must be cut up and bagged to be readied for waste management pickup.

It just goes to show you, there are three ways to do things – right, wrong and lazy. Guess I don’t have to tell you which one this one was!!!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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