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Outdoors notebook: Demand high for youth pheasant hunts

| Monday, June 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Demand for mentored youth pheasant hunts offered by sportsmen's clubs around the state has outpaced availability.

Samantha Pedder, the Westmoreland County native who heads up the Pennsylvania Game Commission's outreach efforts, said there were about 3,000 more children wanting to take part in a mentored hunt last year than there were slots to accommodate them.

To meet the demand, the commission will try and grow the program in certain parts of the state, including the southwest and northwest, this fall, Pedder said.

It's hoping to do that in two ways. One is to recruit clubs to hold hunts. The other is by giving clubs the option to hold two hunts rather than one, on Oct. 12 and/or 19. Clubs — which were limited to taking 50 youth hunters — now can decide how many kids they can handle.

Clubs interested in hosting a hunt must submit an application by July 26. Contact Pedder at sapedder@pa.gov or 717-787-4250, ext. 3327.

Fish kills

You're not imagining things if it has seemed like there were a larger-than-usual number of dead fish around a couple of local lakes.

Both Green Lick Lake in Fayette County and Acme Dam in Westmoreland experienced die-offs of crappies this year. In both cases, the deaths were likely the result of spawning stress, said Tom Qualters, supervisor in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's regional office in Somerset.

Outbreaks such as those are not usually large enough to impact populations, he said.

Records on the rise

Between 2010 and 2012, record book submissions for trophy white-tailed deer, Stone's sheep, Dall's sheep, desert sheep and grizzly bears became more common, according to the Boone and Crockett Club. Submissions for trophy caribou, mule deer and pronghorn antelope declined.

Overall, the number of records received across all categories from 2010-12 was the second highest ever, trailing only the number seen between 2007 and '09.

New patch

The Pennsylvania Game Commission expects to make available soon a “triple trophy” patch for hunters who take a white-tailed deer, black bear and turkey.

The patch will come not as one item, but as three pie-shaped pieces. Hunters can buy the pieces as they harvest each of the animals, be it in one hunting license year or over a lifetime, said spokesman Joe Neville.

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

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