Looking Back Over 2015
Inside the Outdoors, January 1,

Outdoors wise, it was an interesting year. No one who stuck his nose out his front door can deny that. The temperatures pleased more people for the exception of the enthusiasts who needed the white stuff to track deer, ski or snowshoe in the wilds.

Concerning the Pennsylvania Game Commission, it put into action the river otter trapping season, a move that took place since 50 years ago.

Squirrel, pheasant and rabbit seasons were extended to the late segments whereby hunters could be blessed by harvesting one of these three types of wildlife.

Deer hunters saw a change in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D whereby regulations were changed. The archery season began earlier and ended later. Properly licensed hunters were able to hunt and harvest either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season’s first segment.

There was a lowering of antlerless license costs issued which allowed deer herds to grow in certain parts of the state.

Disease Management Area 2 Antlerless Deer Permits were issued to reduce the antlerless deer populations specifically within the lone area of the state where chronic wasting disease was detected among free-ranging deer.

Seven year-old youth and those older became able to obtain permits to hunt antlered deer and spring turkey as long as adult mentors accompanied them. These grown-ups had to have a valid tag whereby they could be transferred if an animal was harvested.

One can no longer hunt Bobwhite quail in WMU 5A. It is here where they may be a reintroduction of this game bird.

There was an allocation of 116 elk licenses for2015. This broke down to 21 antlered elks licenses and 95 antlerless licenses. They were awarded by the lottery numbers.

Tree stands and blinds left out overnight on state game lands had now to be marked with durable identification tags bearing the owner’s name and address or his or her CID number or an alternate number obtained by going onto The Outdoor Shop.

Finally, the digest was redesigned hoping that hunters and trappers found it easier to use and find information.

As for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, they, too, decided to update their ways and means of doing things.

Annual residential, senior, and non-resident licenses all received a one-dollar discount in costs.

Resident senior lifetime license holders who purchased their license as of Jan 1, 2015, were required to purchase a trout/salmon permit each year that the license holder desired to fish for trout.

A durable plastic card version of the Senior Resident Lifetime license is now available for $11.70 available through the following website: www.fishand boat.com/forms.fishing.htm. Upgrades can also be purchased through issuing licenses.

Anglers 16 years of age and younger, who participated in the Mentored Youth Fishing Day had to be in the accompaniment of adults who possessed a valid fishing license. Youth had to obtain a Mentored Youth Fish Permit or a Voluntary Youth Fishing License.

The annual buttons were once again available to all current, adult and youth Pennsylvania fishing license customers who possess a valid state fishing license.

For all those who may be in the possession of crayfish, the heads must be removed behind the eyes immediately after captured unless one intended to use it (them) for bait.

Relevant to Catch and Release Fly-Fishing Only areas, there is no closed season with fishing permitted all year long on a 24-hour basis. No trout may be killed or had in possession. Fishing may be done with artificial flies and streamers constructed of natural or synthetic materials, so long as all flies are constructed in a normal fashion on a singles hook with components wound on or about the hook. Anything other than these items is prohibited.

An angler in a boat may possess bait and fish caught in compliance with the seasons, sizes and creel limits in effect for a water from which it was taken, provided that the boat angler floats through the Catch and Release Fly-Fishing Only area without stopping or engaging in the act of fishing or the boat angler puts in or takes out his boat at an access point within the Catch and Release Fly-Fishing Only area.

Wild Brook Trout Enhancement Program areas also had no closed season. The rules are similar for the exception here whereby no brook trout may be killed or had in possession.

Pertaining to Catch and Release All Tackle areas, the fishing rules are similar. An angler in a boat rule applies to this area as well.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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