Several changes to pheasant at April Meeting
SOME SENIOR PHEASANT HUNTERS EXEMPTED FROM PERMIT
Any Pennsylvania hunter who held a senior lifetime hunting or combination license prior to May 13, 2017 will not need to purchase a pheasant permit to hunt pheasants in the 2018-19 license year.
The pheasant permit was created last year as a way to help offset the costs of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s pheasant propagation program. In its first year, the $26.90 permit was required for all adult and senior pheasant hunters, including senior lifetime license buyers.
The requirement for a permit officially became regulation on May 13, 2017.
And the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today voted to allow hunters who held senior lifetime hunting or combination licenses prior to May 13, 2017 to hunt pheasant without obtaining a permit.
Adult pheasant hunters still will need to purchase the permit; junior pheasant hunters will need a free permit in 2018-19.
The pheasant permit was one of several initiatives by the Game Commission to make the pheasant propagation program more cost-effective. The agency in recent years closed two of its four pheasant farms, and began purchasing day-old chicks from private propagators rather than carrying over breeding pheasants and raising chicks from eggs.
Through these measures the annual costs of the program have been reduced from about $4.7 million to about $2.3 million. Additionally, the pheasant permit in its first year generated more than $1.1 million to help offset those costs.
Commissioners said the reduced overall costs of the program have made it easier to grandfather-in those pheasant hunters who held senior lifetime licenses at the time the permit became official.
Nearly 43,000 hunters purchased a pheasant permit, and about 4,300 of them were senior lifetime license buyers.
JUNIOR HUNTERS NEED FREE PERMIT TO HUNT PHEASANTS
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today adopted a measure that requires junior hunters to obtain a free pheasant permit to hunt pheasants in Pennsylvania.
Previously, junior hunters did not need a permit, which is required for adult and some senior hunters who pursue pheasants.
Issuance of a free permit to junior hunters will help the Game Commission quantify the number of youth participating in pheasant hunting annually – data that might entitle the agency to additional funding for its pheasant program through federal hunter recruitment funding initiatives.
The measure adopted by the board also removes the requirement to obtain a permit for individuals hunting and taking privately acquired propagated pheasants on private lands. The exemption does not apply to private lands designated by agreement as cooperative access lands, and all pheasants hunted taken or possessed through this exemption need to be appropriately banded, tagged, marked or receipted.
SOMERSET WILD PHEASANT RECOVERY AREA DISSOLVED
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today voted to dissolve the Somerset Wild Pheasant Recovery Area (WPRA), one of the state’s four WPRAs.
The Somerset WPRA was created by the Game Commission in 2009. Like other WPRAs, it was selected because its habitat gave pheasants the greatest chance to establish wild populations.
The Somerset WPRA received 964 trapped-and-transferred wild pheasants over three years, but surveys showed that the Somerset WPRA’s population failed to take hold.
Habitat conditions, weather severity, or a combination of these factors, impeded the chances of achieving a sustainable pheasant population on the WPRA.
Because WPRAs generally are closed to pheasant hunting, and the release of propagated pheasants is prohibited within WPRAs, dissolving the Somerset WPRA benefits pheasant hunters.
With the Somerset WPRA dissolved, the area will be reopened to either-sex pheasant hunting and will be eligible for game-farm pheasant releases.
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