When hunters apply for antlerless deer permits in a few months they will have a few new wildlife management unit boundaries to consider.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Management Units
At their recent meeting, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners created a new WMU 2H from a slice off the western edge of WMU 2G, in northcentral Pennsylvania.
Approved final adoption of 2H as a new Wildlife Management Unit. It was created through a subdivision of 2G.
Commissioner David Putnam has been pressing for some division of 2G, although many observers expected a new line to divided 2G into north and south units rather than 2G to the east and 2H to the west.
WMU 2H is now among the smallest WMUs and for 2013-14 has the smallest number of antlerless deer permits, just 6,000.
Even with those 6,000 permits now directed into the new WMU2H, Putnam recommended and the other commissioners approved slashing the staff recommendation of 31,000 down to 28,000.
Although he proposed no changes for WMU 5C in southeastern Pennsylvania, Commissioner Brian Hoover pointed to the possible need for some alterations.
He noted, "5C is a very large wildlife management unit that has diverse habitat in it and has separate issues" in different parts of the WMU, which range from the nearly urban Chester County to sprawling agricultural fields, woodlots and mountainside of northern Berks County.
"At some point in the future I'd like to take a look at possibly changing that unit," said Hoover, who was named to the board midway through the latest round of reconsideration of the WMU boundaries by the commissioners, which resulted in little more than the creation of 2H.
He pinpointed the issues in WMU 5C as "there are a lot of (antlerless permits) in 5C intended" to address urban deer issues that are "migrating to the north" and being used in much more rural, even agricultural lands and woodlands.
As they've done for many years, commissioners against approved more antlerless permits for 5C – 103,000 – by more than a factor of two over any other WMU and apparently limited only by the fact that the commission was unable to sell more than that in 2012-13.
As a result of so many antlerless permits being applied to a relatively small area of public land in northern part of 5C, there are "pockets where there are very few deer in Berks and Lehigh counties," said Hoover.
He didn't offer any new boundary lines for 5C, explaining, "I'm not sure we have the ability other than the harvest data to find where the split is and divide it up or to find a way to address the cold spots."
If 5C cannot be divided into separate units that better reflect the landscape and habitat, he suggested, maybe an urban deer management program can be employed to reduce the problem.