DOVE AND EARLY CANADA GOOSE SEASONS TO BEGIN SEPT. 1

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DOVE AND EARLY CANADA GOOSE SEASONS TO BEGIN SEPT. 1

Postby PADuckhunter » Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:29 pm

from the PA Game Commision Website. http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view ... 68416&A=11
2006 Press Releases
Search Pennsylvania Game Commission - State Wildlife Management Agency Home Printable Version eMail

Release #086-06

DOVE AND EARLY CANADA GOOSE SEASONS TO BEGIN SEPT. 1;
GAME COMMISSION POSTS AVIAN INFLUENZA INFORMATION ON WEBSITE

DOVE AND EARLY CANADA GOOSE SEASONS TO BEGIN SEPT. 1

HARRISBURG - Dove and early Canada goose seasons will open Sept. 1, as part of Pennsylvania's 2006 migratory bird seasons and bag limits announced today by Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe.

"Pennsylvania's migratory bird hunting seasons will be very similar to last year's," said Roe of the selection package forwarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). "Hunters can look forward to enjoying the same expanded opportunities."

Dove hunters, once again, will have the opportunity to participate in a triple-split season. During the first season (Sept. 1-30), hunting will start at noon and continue through sunset daily. The second and third splits will be Oct. 21-Nov. 24, and Dec. 26-30, with hunting hours a half-hour before sunrise until sunset. In all three seasons, the daily bag limit will be 12 and the possession limit after opening day is 24.

The early statewide season for resident Canada geese will open Sept. 1, and continue through Sept. 25. Statewide bag limits remain eight daily and 16 in possession. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service frameworks allow for higher limits this year, the Game Commission decided to wait and receive comments from the public at the agency's annual Waterfowl Symposium on the proposal before increasing the bag limits. Public comments will be accepted at the meeting, which is set for Aug. 4; or by sending a letter to: Pennsylvania Game Commission, Bureau of Wildlife Management, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797; or via e-mail (ra-waterfowlcomments@state.pa.us).

While the Pymatuning Zone, which includes the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area in Crawford County, remains closed during the early season, hunters may take geese on Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and an area extending 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of SR 3011 (Hartstown Road). Inside this area, bag limits are eight daily and 16 in possession.

"Working with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we are providing hunters with the opportunity to take Canada geese within this portion of the park to address problems being caused by the growing goose population," said John Dunn, agency Game Bird Section supervisor.

Dunn also noted that the controlled hunting areas at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon-Lancaster counties have been modified to address the decline in the resident Canada goose flock. In the area of Lancaster and Lebanon counties north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, east of SR 501 to SR 419, south of SR 419 to Lebanon-Berks county line, west of Lebanon-Berks county line and Lancaster-Berks county line to SR 1053 (also known as Peartown Road and Greenville Road), west of SR 1053 to Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, the daily bag limit is one goose, possession limit two geese; except on State Game Land 46 (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area) where the season is closed.

Excluding the two areas identified, the early season in the remainder of the state retains a daily bag limit of eight and possession limit of 16.

Dunn noted that recent liberalizations in Canada goose hunting opportunities, along with control programs being implemented by many municipalities and public and private landowners, might be having an impact on the state's resident Canada goose population. The 2006 Pennsylvania resident Canada goose population was estimated at 229,000. This was the lowest estimate since 1998 (196,000). Although statistically not different from recent estimates of Pennsylvania's breeding population, it may indicate a decline is occurring in the resident goose population.

"Hunting remains the most effective and efficient way to manage resident Canada geese, provided hunters can gain access to problem areas," Dunn said.

Pennsylvania's woodcock season will open Oct. 14, and continue through Nov. 11. The daily limit is three, and the possession limit is six.

A season for common snipe will run from Oct. 14 to Nov. 18. The daily limit is 8, and the possession limit is 16.

Virginia and sora rail hunting will run Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Bag limits, which are singly or combined, are 3 daily or 6 in possession. The season for king and clapper rails is closed.

Hunting for moorhen and gallinules will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 9, and the bag limits are three daily and six in possession.

Once again, young Pennsylvania hunters will be provided with a special day of waterfowl hunting on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Youth Waterfowl Day will be open to those age 12-15 who hold a junior hunting license. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the youth in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt. During this special day-long hunt, youth can harvest ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens.

In addition, because the Youth Waterfowl Day and the early Canada goose season overlap this year, youth and the adults accompanying them may harvest Canada geese. The daily limit for the Youth Waterfowl Day for Canada geese is the same as the daily limit for adults in the area being hunted, except in the Pymatuning Zone, where youth can take one goose. In the Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and an area extending 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of SR 3011 (Hartstown Road), youth can take the same daily bag limit as adults, eight Canada geese.

Youth Waterfowl Day bag limits for ducks, mergansers and coots will be consistent with the limit for the regular season, which will be announced in mid-August, after the Waterfowl Symposium on Aug. 4. The briefing will begin at 1 p.m. in the Game Commission's Haldeman Island administrative building, across from the Ranch House restaurant along Routes 11/15, just north of the Routes 11/15 and Routes 22/322 intersection, in Perry County.

Migratory game bird hunters, including those afield for doves and woodcock, are required to obtain and carry a migratory game bird license ($3 for residents, $6 for nonresidents), as well as a general hunting, combination or lifetime license. All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older also must possess a federal migratory game bird and conservation (duck) stamp.

Annual migratory bird and waterfowl seasons are selected by states from a framework established by the USFWS with input from migratory game bird hunters and the public. The Game Commission is expected to announce in mid-August the regular and late waterfowl seasons, after the agency holds its annual Waterfowl Symposium, Aug. 4.

The "Pennsylvania 2006-07 Guide to Migratory Bird Hunting" brochure will be posted on the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) in mid-August, and the mass-produced brochure should be available at U.S. Post Offices in the state by the end of August.

Hunters are encouraged to use a toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND) or e-mail address (bandreports@patuxent.usgs.gov) to report banded ducks, geese and doves they harvest. Callers will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of waterfowl were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of waterfowl.

Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission is responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and mammals in the Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag limits, enforcing hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts numerous wildlife conservation programs for schools, civic organizations and sportsmen's clubs.

The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer dollars for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by license sales revenues; the state's share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which is an excise tax collected through the sale of sporting arms and ammunition; and monies from the sale of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals derived from State Game Lands.

GAME COMMISSION POSTS AVIAN INFLUENZA INFORMATION ON WEBSITE

As hunters prepare for waterfowl and migratory game bird seasons, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has posted information on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) to ensure hunters have the facts about avian influenza and wild birds. The information can be accessed by selecting "Avian Influenza" in the "Quick Clicks" box in the upper right corner of the agency's homepage.

"We have compiled a list of important facts, answers to common questions and links to more detailed information on our website," said Dr. Walt Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian. "Migratory birds - typically waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls and terns - are natural carriers of avian influenza and are considered the natural reservoir for low-pathogenic strains of the disease. However, the impact of highly pathogenic H5N1 on migratory bird populations and the role that wild birds play in the spread of H5N1 is unclear.

"Scientists are uncertain if wild birds were the source of the H5N1 virus or if they acquired it from poultry. Once infected, wild birds could transport the virus to a new location, but these relatively few infected wild birds are rarely able to travel far."

Avian influenza is a common disease of birds that rarely infects humans. These viruses are classified as having low pathogenicity or high pathogenicity based on the severity of the illness they cause in poultry, and most are not considered a public health threat.

The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza has not been detected in North America. Highly pathogenic strains, like highly pathogenic H5N1, cause severe illness and rapid death in poultry. H5N1 has caused the largest and most severe outbreaks in poultry on record. At present, the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus does not easily infect people and only very rarely spreads from person to person. In cases where the H5N1 strain has infected humans, it is a serious disease; while only about 220 people are known to have contracted the disease, about half of them have died.

Legal and illegal movement of infected birds; poultry products; contaminated materials, equipment and vehicles; as well as wild bird migration are some of the ways that H5N1 can be spread. Since its discovery 10 years ago, the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain has spread to Asia, Europe and Africa, where it has primarily affected domestic poultry. Most human cases of avian influenza have occurred in people who have had very close contact with infected poultry or have eaten infected poultry that was improperly cooked.

Cottrell noted that if the highly pathogenic H5N1 is detected in wild birds in the United States, it does not necessarily pose a threat to the general public. Even though the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been detected in a number of wild bird species, the actual number of wild birds infected with H5N1 has been relatively very low. There currently is no scientific basis for controlling highly pathogenic H5N1 by management of wild birds beyond physically segregating poultry from exposure to wild birds.

"For prevention's sake, hunters should follow routine precautions when handling game birds," Cottrell said. "Do not kill, handle or eat sick game. Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash hands and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game. Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling animals. All game and poultry products should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit."

Cottrell pointed out that a certain level of mortality in wild birds is normal, and that wild bird mortality occurs as a result of trauma, ingestion of pesticides, infections and accidents of nature, most of which pose no threat to the health of domestic animals or people. However, incidents of five or more ill or dead birds (not including pigeons) in the same geographic area over a one- or two-day period may indicate significant mortality and should be reported during regular business hours to the Game Commission Region Office that serves the area.

"Bag and refrigerate - but do not freeze - the birds in a cooler with ice until arrangements for pickup or disposal can be made," Cottrell said. "Even in cases involving five or more birds, the cause of death can often be determined without laboratory testing. Game Commission staff may make arrangements to acquire dead birds or recommend disposing of them in a plastic bag in household trash that ends up at a regulated landfill."

The Game Commission's wild bird mortality investigations are part of a larger operation in cooperation with USDA Wildlife Services. In addition to following up on citizen reports of dead birds, Game Commission biologists are sampling live Canada geese and mallards statewide, as well as scaup (a species of diving duck) taken by hunters on Lake Erie, to test for avian influenza. Water samples also will be taken from areas where waterfowl congregate and tested for avian influenza.

Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission is responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and mammals in the Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag limits, enforcing hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts numerous wildlife conservation programs for schools, civic organizations and sportsmen's clubs.

The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer dollars for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by license sales revenues; the state's share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which is an excise tax collected through the sale of sporting arms and ammunition; and monies from the sale of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals derived from State Game Lands.
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