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A Brief Look at Hunting Seasons and Regulations

I’m sure the last thing on anybody’s mind right now is hunting unless, of course, you’re into groundhog hunting. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has come out with some new or changed rulings however that we hunters need to be aware of before the fall seasons get underway. I know, trying to keep up with all the regulations and the changes is a real challenge; I keep the regulation book handy at all times, and I’m often gleaning its pages to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. This is just a summary of some of the new or changed regulations so be sure to consult the online version of the game regulations or buy a digest from the commission-I believe the cost is six dollars.

For starters, one significant change will be that hunters who held a senior lifetime hunting or combination license prior to May 13, 2017, will not be required to purchase a pheasant permit to hunt pheasants in the 2018-19 license year. When the regulation was first passed I did not purchase the $26.90 permit; I didn’t feel I would get my money’s worth out of the purchase. Under the new regs, I may now pursue pheasants a time or two this fall.

Adult pheasant hunters who are not senior lifetime license holders will still need to purchase the permit, and junior pheasant hunters will also need a permit however junior pheasant hunters permits are free. The reason for requiring the free junior permit is to help the commission quantify the number of youth participation in pheasant hunting-this data may entitle the agency to additional funding for its pheasant program through federal hunter recruitment funding initiatives.

The fall hunting seasons seem to kick off with the opening of the fall dove season. Rather than starting hunting at noon in the early part of the season, it looks as though you will now be able to begin hunting mourning doves from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset in all season segments.

The statewide archery deer season which will run from Sept. 29 to Nov. 12 is a day longer in 2018-19 and will end on a Monday which is the Veterans Day holiday. The statewide bear season will run from Nov. 17-21 and the statewide archery bear season is Oct. 29-Nov. 3. The regular firearms deer season will consist of a five-day antlered deer season from Nov. 26-30 and a seven-day concurrent season from Dec. 1 – 8 for most of the state. Check your regulation booklet for exceptions to those regulations.

Spring gobbler season will open statewide on April 27, 2019, with a one-day youth hunt held on April 20. There are of course a number of other rule changes that are set for specific areas of the state such as additional hen pheasant hunting in some new areas and increased fisher trapping opportunities in WMUs 4B and 4C. Again check your regulation summary for more details. In the meantime while waiting for some of that cooler weather to start kicking in, you may want to wet a line; even in this hot weather if you play it right, you can still hook up with some trout, bass, and assorted panfish.

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