Outdoor notebook: Can you quarter a deer in the woods?

| Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

around the game commission

• If you shoot a deer in Pennsylvania, do you have to drag the whole thing out of the woods, or can you butcher it on the spot and pack out just pieces, as is commonly done with big animals like elk out west? That's a question that often comes up among hunters. Game commissioners asked for a ruling at their most recent work group meeting. They got it from Rich Palmer, director of their bureau of wildlife protection. Palmer said quartering a deer in the woods is a legal activity. Hunters must maintain the animal's head intact and pack it out, with a tag attached, however. That's for reasons of identification. If a hunter had a deer carcass without the head, wildlife conservation officers would have no way to tell whether a deer had the minimum number of antler points, Palmer said.

• Small game hunters might get a present of a Christmas hunt in the future. Traditionally, hunting is allowed up through Christmas Eve, closes for Christmas Day, then begins again Dec. 26. Commissioner Jay Delaney has expressed interest in allowing hunting on the holiday, though. Hunters already have Thanksgiving, and hunting on that day is a tradition for a lot of families, he said. Allowing hunting on Christmas might be equally popular, he said. Commission executive director Carl Roe said there are no biological reasons that he's aware of for not having hunting on Christmas. It's just never been done, he said.

around the fish and boat commission

• The Fish and Boat Commission is running a sweepstakes contest, and a Beaver County man was the first winner. The Fishing Fun Sweepstakes — you can get more details and enter at gonefishingpa.com — is run in conjunction with efforts to promote the sale of multi-year fishing licenses. You don't have to buy anything to enter the sweepstakes. Prizes are being awarded weekly. David Klein of Freedom won the first, a guided Lake Erie tributaries steelhead fishing trip for two. The third prize in the contest, an ice fishing trip with commission executive director John Arway, is scheduled to be awarded Sunday. Upcoming prizes to be awarded through May 5 include $500 Cabela's gift cards, a float fishing trip for trout or bass on the Yough River, another fishing trip in Western Pennsylvania for trout or bass, a float fishing trip on the Delaware River and a charter boat trip on Lake Erie for walleye or steelhead, among other things.

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