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Game Commissioners set doe license allocation

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Early squirrel season nixed

A majority of Game Commissioners apparently believe Pennsylvania hunters are more dangerous to one another than are their counterparts in neighboring states.

In January, the board gave preliminary approval to a proposal to open squirrel hunting season a month earlier than usual, on Sept. 14. The youth-only squirrel season would have opened a week before that, on Sept. 7.

That's hardly outside the norm.

There's not another state in the Northeast that waits beyond mid-September to open squirrel season. Some have been opening their seasons then for decades.

The majority of commissioners, though, apparently don't Pennsylvania's hunters could hunt then safely.

Commissioner Brian Hoover of Deleware County said he feared that if squirrel season opened here in September, when there would be leaves on the trees, hunters, and young hunters in particular, might shoot archers in treestands with .22 rifles. Three other commissioners agreed with him and voted to move opening day of squirrel season back to Oct. 19.

Commissioner Ralph Martone of New Castle and two others have supported the earlier opening day, saying it would provide young hunters and the mentors who take them afield with more opportunity.

Monday, April 15, 2013, 8:39 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's deer seasons are going to look similar this fall to last, although there will be fewer doe licenses available to hunters in places.

Game commissioners on Monday gave final approval to seasons and bag limits for 2013-14. The same 11 wildlife management units that featured 12 days of concurrent buck and doe hunting in the firearms deer season last year will be run that way again. Twelve — counting the one new unit, 2H — will be managed with a split season, with five days of buck-only hunting followed by seven days of concurrent.

That's what the board preliminarily adopted back in January.

Where commissioners veered was in deciding how many doe licenses to issue.

The board had recommendations from its biologists for each unit. It went away from those on occasion, however.

Biologists had recommended the board issue 51,000 doe tags for wildlife management unit 2C, for example. That unit takes in all of Somerset County and parts of Westmoreland, Fayette, Indiana, Cambria, Bedford and Blair.

The herd there is admittedly down compared to six years ago but has been relatively stable for the last four, said biologist Chris Rosenberry. The recommended allocation would maintain it at existing levels, he said.

Board president Bob Schlemmer of Export — who was not at the meeting, but relayed his suggestions to the board — recommended the commission issue just 36,000.

Not everyone agreed that was a good idea.

“I have some concerns about that,” commissioner Dave Schreffler of Bedford County said.

The board split the difference and allocated 43,000 doe licenses for 2C.

The board likewise compromised on unit 2D, which takes in all of Armstrong County and parts of Butler, Westmoreland, Indiana, Jefferson, Venango and Clarion. Rosenberry had suggested issuing 65,000 doe licenses; Schlemmer proposed 57,000. The board settled on 61,000.

The tags issued for other units are: unit 1A, 49,000; 1B, 31,000; 2A, 49,000; 2B, 62,000; 2E, 22,000; 2F, 29,000; 2G, 28,000; 2H, 6,000; 3A, 23,000; 3B, 39,000; 3C, 35,000; 3D, 32,000; 4A, 28,000; 4B, 24,000; 4C, 27,000; 4D, 35,000; 4E, 26,000; 5A, 19,000; 5B; 50,000; 5C, 103,000; and 5D, 18,000.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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