When the Pennsylvania Game Commission begins sending out hunting press releases for the soon to start small game hunting seasons, you’ll realize summer is almost over and you’ll wonder where it went.
As such, the PGC has approved the early migratory bird hunting seasons, with special emphasis on the start-end dove seasons.
For this season, the dove season segments have been restructured, says the PGC. The season will now run Sept. 1 through Oct. 10, then reopen again on Oct. 17. This was done so doves may be hunted throughout the small-game season. However, this also means the dove season will close briefly prior to the start of the small game season.
The Oct. 17 opener is also the first day of the season for squirrels, grouse, rabbits, pheasants and quail. But they and dove will close Nov. 28. The final dove season opens again from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.
In past seasons, the first dove segment started and stopped in September, and most of October was closed to dove hunting.
Hunting hours for doves are noon until sunset from Sept. 1 through Sept. 25. Starting Sept. 26 hunting hours begin a half-hour before sunrise and end at sunset. The daily bag limit for doves is 15 with a possession limit of 45.
Doves are our most populated game bird and are seen almost everywhere. And they make excellent table fare especially when their breasts are wrapped in bacon and broiled.
Trouble is, where to hunt them. Thanks to sprawling warehouses and housing developments on once fertile farmlands, those once hunt able lands have disappeared. This leaves a few suburban farmlands to the State Game Lands off Route 100 in upper Lehigh County where you’ll have lots of company, including hunters from the Philadelphia area.
The Canada goose season also opens Sept. 1 and will run through Sept. 25. This early season has a local daily bag of eight and a possession limit of 24.
Kevin Jacobs, a PGC waterfowl biologist, noted that liberal Canada goose seasons and control programs have stabilized the state’s resident goose population at nearly 250,000. This is down by nearly 90,000 from the peak of nearly 340,000 estimated in 2004 and 2005. The current population, however, remains significantly above the management goal of 150,000.
Again this year, youths will get a shot on waterfowl on Sept. 19 for the youth waterfowl hunting day. The second day will vary, says the PGC, by duck-hunting zone that will be announced when the late migratory game bird seasons are announced this month.
Youth waterfowl days are open to licensed junior hunters ages 12-15 years old. To hunt then, youths must be accompanied by an adult who may assist in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt. During those hunts youths may harvest ducks, geese, mergansers, coots and gallinules. Licensed adults can harvest Canada geese on Sept. 19, and on the second youth day if it’s open in the area being hunted.
Hunters are reminded that to hunt doves and waterfowl, a Pennsylvania migratory game bird license ($3.70 for residents and $6.70 for nonresidents) is needed plus a general hunting license. All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must possess a federal migratory bird hunting and conservation (duck) stamp.
Hunters are encouraged to report any leg-banded migratory game recoveries online at www.reportband.gov, or call the toll-free 800-327-BAND. Hunters will be asked to provide where, when and what species was taken in addition to the band number.
This small effort helps successful management of migratory game birds says the PGC.
[Ed. note] Correction – The column entitled “Taurus settlement could affect as many as 100,000 semi-auto handguns,” should have read 966,335 handguns as pointed out to Examiner/Allentown by Atty. David L. Selby II, who is one of the attorney’s representing the gun owners.