Migratory Seasons
Inside the Outdoors, September 23,
2016

Usually doing the summer months, when sportsmen gather around my booth at the Latrobe Farmer’s Market, the conversations center on fishing and sometimes a success story to go along with it.

Last week was no different. It seems the women are boasting more about their partners’ success stories than their counterparts. “You’ve got to see that fish my husband caught recently,” one would say. And then they’d pull their cell phones out of their purses, and we’d both squint trying to see the trophy catch on the rectangular glass of the mechanism.

“Do you see it? Do you see it? Do you see it?” stated one proud mate as she bubbles over with pride. I smile and nodded affirmatively.

People pretty much have me tagged, as they all want to tell me their accomplishments in that sport. Keep ‘em coming. I love sharing other’s excitement!

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Also at the market, I was happy to hear a friend share that he has already started to seek out where he will be hunting this fall. Physically challenged, you’ve got to hand it to him. This middle-aged man told me of his findings, including bear and deer tracks. It goes without saying that he will be set by the time hunting season begins.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has recommended this practice for as long as I can remember. In as much as this fellow has already started planning his plan of attack, is proof in the pudding, so to speak, that knowing one’s territory means everything when it come to succeeding.

I was just reading a story about this practice using a little different approach. It was suggested riding a mountain bike while searching out hunting grounds. More cyclists are riding along trails to scout their areas of approach. The great thing about using bicycles is that one can cover a great deal of land in the short amount of time and possibly see deer along the way. The only drawback that I can see is that one will not be able to study the ground for footprints that one could do while hiking.

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Well, it won’t be long now that duck and Canadian goose seasons will get underway. In the northern counties of the Commonwealth, ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers will begin Oct. 10 and last until Nov. 28. It then will take up Dec. 19 and go through Jan. 7.

In the south zones, which would include the county of Westmoreland and those around it, hunting for those waterfowl start Oct. 17 and goes to Oct. 24. Nov. 14 begins the starting date for the second part of the season and ends Jan. 14.

The northwest zone, in the far upper left part of the state commence Oct. 10 and last until Dec. 12, and then take up on Dec. 29 and last until Jan 2.

One is permitted to harvest six ducks daily, eighteen in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than four mallards including two hen mallards, two scaup (North American diving duck), one black duck, three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasbacks, two pintails, one mottled (spots or smears) duck, one fulvous (reddish yellow) whistling duck and four scoters.

One is allowed to kill five mergansers daily, fifteen in possession. One can harvest fifteen coots daily, with forty-five in possession.

Instead of a north, northwest and south zones for geese, a resident population (RP), and a Southern James Bay Population Zone (SJBP), and an Atlantic Population Zone (AP) section portion off the state counties.

The RP zone includes all of Pennsylvania except the Atlantic Population zones. The seasons where one is allowed to take geese are Oct. 24 to November 28, Dec. 18 to Jan.14, and Feb 1 to Feb. 29.

The RJBP zone marks the area north of I-80 and west of I-79 including in the season of Erie west of Bay Front Parkway to and including the Lake Erie Duck zone (Lake Erie, Presque and the area within 150 yards of Lake Erie Shoreline. The season is Oct. 10 to Nov. 28 And Dec. 14 to Jan. 22, with a three-day goose daily limit; 9 goose possession limit.

The AP zone incorporates those eastern counties on the right hand bottom of the state that include 14 counties plus a partial county. There are many divisions, so if one plans to hunt there, it is first best to check the hunter’s summary booklet. The goose season for the AP begins Nov. 14 and goes to Nov. 28. Then there’s a break, and it takes up again on Dec. 19 and ends Jan 30, with a three-goose daily limit; nine-goose possession limit.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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