Small Game Changes For 2018/19 - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Small Game Changes For 2018/19

Pennsylvania's hunting seasons could see changes for 2018-19 | TribLIVE


WILD PHEASANTS

The first change involves one of the state's wild pheasant recovery areas.

Those are places where the commission and Pheasants Forever volunteers worked with farmers to do extensive habitat work. Wild pheasants were imported from other states and released. No hunting was permitted.

The idea was to see if the birds could survive and reproduce in huntable numbers.

In the case of the Somerset County recovery area, the answer is no, Gregg said.

It was established in 2009.

“It's gotten its full complement of wild pheasants from the Midwest, but they haven't done particularly well,” Gregg said. “The population hasn't dropped to zero, but it's very low. It's certainly not a huntable population.”

Staff will be asking commissioners to eliminate it, Gregg said.

That would leave just two.

STOCKED PHEASANTS

The commission breaks the state into 23 wildlife management units. In 17, pheasant hunters can shoot male and female birds.

In the other six — 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B — hens are off limits.

That rule was put in place in part to protect wild hens, Gregg said. But there are no wild birds to speak of in units 2A, 2C, 4C and 5B.

So there's no biological reason anymore for protecting hens there, Gregg added. The result is staff would like to make those either-sex pheasant hunting units.

That would lead to a more equitable distribution of stocked roosters, said Bob Boyd, wildlife services division chief for the commission.

Pen-reared pheasants are raised at a 50-50 ratio of males to females.

“The miracle would be if we could sex an egg and just selectively hatch an egg that was male. We'd be in great shape,” Boyd said.

Because that's not possible, 70 percent of the male pheasants raised each year go to just six wildlife management units. The remaining 17 make do with two hens for every cockbird.

The commission first created either-sex pheasant hunting areas in the 1970s, Boyd said. It's expanded them periodically since.

“It's a good time perhaps to consider going further,” Boyd said.


RUFFED GROUSE

The “change” with grouse is that a one-year experiment is likely to continue.

This season, for the first time in years, there's no post-Christmas grouse season. With the double whammy of habitat loss and West Nile virus having knocked ruffed grouse populations to 50-year lows across Pennsylvania, commissioners decided to close it.

That's to protect as many adult breeding birds as possible.

That apparently needs to continue.

Gregg said grouse biologist Lisa Williams developed a new system for deciding whether to keep the late season closed or open it for one or four weeks. It's based on hunter flush rates, summer brood sightings and the annual West Nile index.

The resulting “score” suggests another closed season is in order for next year, Gregg said.

I've spent most of my money on Waterfowling, Women and Whiskey.
The rest of my money I just wasted.
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post #2 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 07:53 AM
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The “change” with grouse is that a one-year experiment is likely to continue.

This season, for the first time in years, there's no post-Christmas grouse season. With the double whammy of habitat loss and West Nile virus having knocked ruffed grouse populations to 50-year lows across Pennsylvania, commissioners decided to close it.
There will never be a late season again. WNV is here to stay and there is no interest in creating more habitat.
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Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #3 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 09:06 AM
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There will never be a late season again. WNV is here to stay and there is no interest in creating more habitat.
I think there will be pressure to add one more week and allow a New Years hunt for Grouse and then shut it down. I think that is the best that can be hoped for.
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post #4 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 10:31 AM
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I think there will be pressure to add one more week and allow a New Years hunt for Grouse and then shut it down. I think that is the best that can be hoped for.
We can only hope for that bone to be tossed to us.

I don't know whether or not the late season will ever be restored but I did know it wasn't going to be restored before they even saw any effects from the first closure.
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post #5 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 10:46 AM
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We can only hope for that bone to be tossed to us.

I don't know whether or not the late season will ever be restored but I did know it wasn't going to be restored before they even saw any effects from the first closure.
If we cant have the full late season back, I prefer it to end just like it did this year, right before Christmas.

Why give us that week between Christmas and New Years for those who only care about grouse after the happy trucks are parked for the season. Those same opportunistic hunters are the ones that pushed for this closure, let them live with it. How many chicken nerds were out the past two weekends hunting grouse? None, they were all excited and anticipating that last big stocking of box chickens. Now they want a special week for themselves, but want it closed right after Jan 1 when they have no interest in grouse again, and dont want the dedicated Grey Poopoun crowd to get a chance at any extra birds.

Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #6 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 02:38 PM
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As predation increases, hunting opportunities decrease, cut back on predation and give the birds some decent habitat, and we may see results. If west nile is the problem, why did it take so long to affect grouse, when crows and bluejays and other birds saw losses years ago? Man may not want to kill the last grouse living in PA, but a predator would not hesitate.
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post #7 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 02:47 PM
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Doesn't appear from this that there is anything new or unexpected regarding the grouse season in Pennsylvania. There will be no effort to create the necessary habitat that might help the grouse population in my opinion. More lip service perhaps but no real effort. As I've said on here for the last few years, the future of ruffed grouse hunting is not in Pennsylvania. This debate about WNV and lack of habitat will still be going on a decade from now. In the mean time I'm spending my time and money hunting where the population and the habitat are still pretty good.
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post #8 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 06:58 PM
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Doesn't appear from this that there is anything new or unexpected regarding the grouse season in Pennsylvania. There will be no effort to create the necessary habitat that might help the grouse population in my opinion. More lip service perhaps but no real effort. As I've said on here for the last few years, the future of ruffed grouse hunting is not in Pennsylvania. This debate about WNV and lack of habitat will still be going on a decade from now. In the mean time I'm spending my time and money hunting where the population and the habitat are still pretty good.
Where might that be? Even Michigan is talking about WNV now and the birds are not near what they were two or three years ago.
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post #9 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LostAgain View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanR View Post
We can only hope for that bone to be tossed to us.

I don't know whether or not the late season will ever be restored but I did know it wasn't going to be restored before they even saw any effects from the first closure.
If we cant have the full late season back, I prefer it to end just like it did this year, right before Christmas.

Why give us that week between Christmas and New Years for those who only care about grouse after the happy trucks are parked for the season. Those same opportunistic hunters are the ones that pushed for this closure, let them live with it. How many chicken nerds were out the past two weekends hunting grouse? None, they were all excited and anticipating that last big stocking of box chickens. Now they want a special week for themselves, but want it closed right after Jan 1 when they have no interest in grouse again, and dont want the dedicated Grey Poopoun crowd to get a chance at any extra birds.
Yes, enjoy your dying sport by yourself, insufferable elitist.
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post #10 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 09:30 PM
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Yes, enjoy your dying sport by yourself, insufferable elitist.
This from the person who wants a personal season limit on grouse so there are enough around for when the deer seasons are over and he wants to hunt grouse. I might be an insufferable elitist, but I sure have a lot of people that like to get out and hunt with me.

Would an elitist take some to their best cover to shot their first ever grouse?


Would an elitist spend Thanksgiving morning taking out a youth to hunt grouse even though the youth ended up shooting a bunny?
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Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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