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Outdoors notebook: More walleyes, fewer muskies this year

| Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, 5:06 p.m.

There's good news and bad news.

On the good side, a lot of extra walleyes went in waters across the state this year.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has a goal of producing 1.5 million walleye fingerlings for stocking annually. This year, though, it produced more than 2.25 million.

The result was that all of the waters for which fish were requested got them, with some getting double stockings.

On the bad side, there are significantly fewer muskies available to stock this year than anticipated.

An animal — perhaps a black bear or raccoon — knocked a pipe carrying water into the agency's Tionesta hatchery out of kilter one night recently, said Brian Wisner, chief of the division of fish production. The result was the agency lost about 15,800 muskies — 10 percent of the total stocked statewide in a year's time.

Wisner said the incident was the first of its kind in 30 years. Staff is looking for ways to make sure it doesn't happen again, he added.

Life jackets

Life jackets are rated as Class I, II, III, IV or V. The problem is few people know what those classifications mean, said Laurel Anders, director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's bureau of boating and education.

So the U.S. Coast Guard is working with manufacturers to develop “performance” classes, she said. They might tell a boater, for example, that a “level 100” life jacket is meant for “sheltered calm water,” while a “level 275” jacket is meant for “offshore, severe weather” use.

If the changes are adopted, they'll be phased in over two years, Anders said.

Female instructors

Between 2002 and 2007, the number of female firearms instructors grew by 19 percent, according to the National Rifle Association. Between 2008 and 2013, it grew by 84 percent, to just more than 7,500.

That's reflective of a larger trend.

According to research done for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, target shooters who have taken up the sport in the past five years tend to be younger, female and urban when compared to established target shooters. Nationally, 20 percent of all target shooters in the country have taken up the sport in the past five years.

Changes coming

Pennsylvania Game News is going high tech.

The Game Commission's magazine is going to begin using “augmented reality” starting with the December issue, said Joe Neville, director of the bureau of information and education.

People with a tablet or smartphone will be able to scan the magazine's cover to access a video that provides more information about it and what's inside the publication.

The technology eventually will expand to the digest that hunters get with their license each year, he added.

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

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