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Wolf Administrations Kicks Off ‘Trees for Troops’ Donation Weekend

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Landsdale, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Maj. Gen. Tony Carelli, Pennsylvania’s Adjutant General and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), today helped kick off the 2018 Trees for Troops weekend, encouraging Pennsylvanians to donate Christmas trees to active-duty military and their families.

“We often talk about the importance of partnerships in building a coalition of support for Pennsylvanians; and forging relationships to inspire, and to grow, and to provide,” said Secretary Redding. “Today we invite our friends and neighbors to join us in this partnership and help us thank Pennsylvania’s military service members. This simple act can help inspire hope and can provide our troops with a little piece of home, no matter where they are.”

Trees for Troops is a national program that provides free, farm-grown Christmas trees to armed forces members and their families each holiday season. Pennsylvanians can participate in the program by visiting a farm or participating location from November 30 through December 2, and purchasing a tree for distribution to service members.

“The Christmas tree is a symbol of the holiday spirit to many people across the globe. This outstanding program will send trees overseas to spread joy to service members deployed far away from their families, and also deliver trees stateside to brighten the hearts of our troops and their families who were fortunate to be home for the holidays,” said Carrelli. “By donating a tree, this program gives people a meaningful opportunity to say thank you to our troops and help ensure military families have the kind of joyful traditional Christmas memories that we would wish for America’s heroes.”

Speakers at the event, held at Bustard’s Christmas Trees in Landsdale, encouraged Pennsylvanians to do their part by contributing one of the more than 17,000 trees heading to military installations throughout the country this month as a part of the annual program.

During the event, Redding and Carelli joined attendees to load a FedEx trailer with trees donated from the farm. FedEx partners to provide transportation services delivering the trees to more than 65 military bases in the U.S. and overseas, and has driven more than 573,000 ground miles for the program.

This is the 14th year of Trees for Troops, which since 2005 has provided more than 176,000 Christmas trees to military families and troops in the United States and overseas. Last year, more than 17,400 Christmas trees were delivered to 70 U.S. military bases and 250 trees delivered to four international bases.

The program is part of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, a non-profit branch of the National Christmas Tree Association, which represents more than 700 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 4,000 affiliated businesses that grow and sell Christmas trees or provide related supplies and services.

For more information and participating locations, visit http://www.christmasspiritfoundation.org.

38 Pennsylvania Career and Technical Centers Receive Funding for Equipment Upgrades

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Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is awarding nearly $1.2 million in competitive grants to 38 career and technical centers and area vocational technical education schools to purchase new equipment that will give students hands-on training for careers needed by local employers.

“There is incredible demand for skilled workers in communities throughout Pennsylvania,” said Governor Wolf. “This equipment will help students get the training they need for good jobs in their local communities. This will further strengthen our talented and educated workforce and continue to bring jobs to Pennsylvania while making our economy stronger.”

The maximum grant allowed under the program is $50,000, and each grant must be matched dollar-for-dollar from a local source which could include local school funds or contributions from businesses and industry partners.

“To prepare students for the 21st century jobs that are driving the Pennsylvania economy, schools need to offer students hands-on training on equipment that is consistent with industry standards,” Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said. “These grants, which require a local match, help institutions around the state train their students for the jobs that exist in their local community.”

Investing in job training is a priority for Governor Wolf. In addition to these grants, the governor secured an additional $10 million for career and technical education in the 2018-19 state budget – the first increase in 10 years. The governor also launched PAsmart, a $30 million investment in science and technology education, apprenticeships and job training. Through competitive grants, PAsmart will help workers and students get the skills for good, middle-class jobs.

Learn more about PAsmart and other programs​ helping Pennsylvanians get skills needed in the workforce.

The recipients of a 2018-19 Competitive CTE Equipment Grant include:

A W Beattie Career Center $30,776
Berks CTC $27,925
Bucks County Technical High School $50,000
Butler County AVTS $6,500
Career Institute of Technology $19,000
Central PA Institute of Science & Technology $50,000
Central Westmoreland CTC $15,089
Clarion County Career Center $1,600
Crawford County CTC $45,585
CTC of Lackawanna County $16,733
Dauphin County Technical School $40,100
Eastern Center for Arts & Technology $8,813
Eastern Westmoreland CTC $22,702
Fayette County Career & Technical Institute $48,329
Franklin County CTC $26,000
Greater Altoona CTC $49,800
Greater Johnstown CTC $35,517
Keystone Central CTC $3,720
Lancaster County CTC $49,729
Lebanon County CTC $16,860
Lehigh Career & Technical Institute $50,000
Lenape Tech $7,248
Mercer County Career Center $37,591
Middle Bucks Institute of Technology $44,290
Monroe Career & Tech Inst $42,835
North Montco Tech Career Center $50,000
Northern Westmoreland CTC $2,000
Parkway West CTC $24,080
Reading Muhlenberg CTC $50,000
Schuylkill Technology Centers $23,977
Seneca Highlands Career and Technical Center $32,785
SUN Area Technical Institute $40,850
Susquehanna County CTC $13,355
Upper Bucks County Technical School $43,226
Venango Technology Center $21,255
Warren County AVTS $19,000
Western Montgomery CTC $44,750
York Co School of Technology $45,000

Wolf Administration Reminds Drivers to Buckle Up, Drive Sober During Holiday Travel Period

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Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians look ahead to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the busy holiday travel season, representatives from safety partners Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission gathered at Turnpike Commission headquarters to stress the importance of seat belts and sober driving during the holidays.
November 19 marks the start of the nationwide Click It or Ticket “Operation Safe Holiday” enforcement effort, which sees law enforcement nationwide adopt a zero-tolerance approach toward traffic law violations, including driving under the influence.
In addition to enforcement efforts, Operation Safe Holiday includes no-cost child passenger safety seat fitting clinics through December 2. Troopers and other state police members certified as child passenger safety technicians will be available to assist with car seat installation and to answer any questions parents have.
“Child safety seats are required by law in Pennsylvania, but they are only effective when installed and used correctly,” said PSP Major Edward Hoke, acting deputy commissioner of staff. “Every seat is different, which is why trained child passenger safety technicians are available to personally assist parents and caregivers with their own seats and vehicles.”
Pennsylvania law mandates children under the age of four be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children under two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the manufacturer. Booster seats are required for children four to eight, to keep them protected in the event of a crash.
According to PennDOT data, during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period in 2017, including the weekend before and after the holiday as well as the day itself, there were 2,903 crashes and 21 fatalities in those crashes statewide. The Christmas and New Year’s travel periods, including the weekend before Christmas, New Year’s and the weekend after, saw 4,253 crashes and 29 fatalities.
“The most effective ways to prevent collisions on the roadways and to arrive at your holiday destinations safely is to slow down, designate a sober driver, and never drive distracted,” said PennDOT District Executive Mike Keiser, P.E. “When crashes do happen, PennDOT and first responders will work quickly to help the involved parties and keep traffic moving.”
Travelers can check up-to-the-minute traffic information statewide at www.511PA.com or the PA511 smartphone app. Additionally, conditions on the current conditions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike can be viewed at www.paturnpike.com.
The PA Turnpike Commission estimates that 3.7 million cars and trucks will travel the toll highway during the six-day Thanksgiving period. To accommodate the increase in traffic volumes, the Turnpike will suspend all scheduled maintenance and construction activities from Tuesday through Sunday.
“With the heavy traffic during our busiest travel holiday, it’s critical to move over for stopped emergency response and recovery vehicles,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “We must give responders the space they need to do their jobs — not to mention the respect they have earned for the work they do. Giving them a full lane to do their jobs is one way we can offer a gesture of thanks to these heroes who will sacrifice holiday family time to protect and assist travelers.”
The holiday seat belt and DUI enforcement are funded by part of PennDOT’s statewide distribution of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforcement monies this federal fiscal year. For more information on PennDOT’s highway safety efforts visit, www.penndot.gov/safety.
The public can join the discussion using the hashtag #PASafeHoliday.

DUCK HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO TAKE ONLINE SURVEY

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HARRISBURG, PA – Due to declines throughout the northeastern United States, the daily bag limit for mallards in the Atlantic Flyway for the 2019-20 seasons likely will be reduced to two per day, and Pennsylvania’s waterfowl hunters are encouraged to participate in an online survey that will contribute to developing a longer-term management strategy for Atlantic Flyway mallards.

Mallards are the most common duck species harvested in Pennsylvania, accounting for about half of the state’s total duck harvest.

Most mallards harvested in Pennsylvania travel from breeding areas in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

But while mallard populations appear relatively stable in eastern Canada, throughout the past 15 to 20 years, populations have declined by about 40 percent in the northeastern United States.

Pennsylvania’s breeding mallard population has declined by about 50 percent.

As an interim step in addressing these declines, the Atlantic Flyway Council has recommended, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has preliminarily approved, a reduction in the species-specific daily bag limit for mallards in the Atlantic Flyway beginning in the 2019-20 hunting season. The bag limit will be reduced from four mallards (of which no more than two may be hens) to two mallards (of which no more than one may be a hen).

In the longer term, Atlantic Flyway managers are developing a harvest strategy to guide harvest regulations for mallards. In addition to data on the biological sustainability of various levels of harvest, strategy development will require information on hunter preferences.

To begin gathering hunter preference information, a flyway-wide hunter survey has been developed. Pennsylvania waterfowl hunters are encouraged to visit https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4644908/AF-mall-PA and respond to the 5- to 10-minute survey. Responses are desired from both avid duck hunters, and those who hunt ducks only occasionally.

The survey will remain open until Nov. 23.

“Different hunters and hunters in different areas might have differing opinions on how mallards best can be managed to provide the best hunting experience, both now and decades from now,” said Ian Gregg, who heads the Game Commission’s Game Management Division. “Some might prefer less-restrictive bag limits, even though it might mean seeing fewer mallards. Others might disagree.

“But the best way for them to make their voices heard on this issue is to take a few minutes to take the survey,” Gregg said. “All opinions matter.”

HUNTERS HARVEST 99 ELK IN 2018

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HARRISBURG, PA – Nearly 100 lucky participants in Pennsylvania’s 2018 elk hunt have taken home a trophy.

Ninety-nine elk were taken by 125 hunters during the regular one-week elk season that ended Nov. 10. And for those licensed to hunt antlered elk, also known as bulls, the success rate was 96 percent, with 25 of 26 tags filled.

The 2018 harvest included some large elk. Thirteen bulls each were estimated to weigh 700 pounds or more, with two of them going more than 800 pounds. The heaviest bull taken in this year’s hunt was estimated at 894 pounds. That bull, which sported an 7-by-8-point rack, was taken in Gibson Township, Cameron County by Richard L. Reicherter I, of Wynnewood, Pa.

Meanwhile, an 806-pounder with a 10-by-7 rack was taken in Goshen Township, Clearfield County by Mark D. Copp, of Wellsboro.

Official measurements of bull racks taken in the hunt cannot be recorded until the antlers have air dried for at least 60 days after the animal was harvested.

There also were some large antlerless elk taken in the harvest. Eight of the 74 cows taken by hunters during the one-week season weighed over 500 pounds.

Thirty-nine elk – nine bulls and 30 cows – were taken on the opening day of the elk season Nov. 5.

“Overall, the 2018 elk season was fairly typical with a slightly lower success rate for antlerless elk hunters,” said Jeremy Banfield, Game Commission elk biologist.

One difference from previous years was the distribution of elk harvests across all the hunt zones, Banfield noted.

“Normally we’d like at least a 50 percent success rate in each zone, where this year several zones had 100 percent success, while others reached only 20 to 40 percent success.

“Poor weather on Monday, Tuesday, and again on Friday might have contributed to the lower harvest, but most hunters recognize the rarity of having an elk tag and will hunt hard no matter the weather. Several hunters reported seeing elk while hunting and just not being able to connect with them.”

Successful hunters within 24 hours of harvest are required to bring their elk to a check station, where tissue samples are collected to test for chronic wasting disease, brucellosis, and tuberculosis. To date none of these diseases have been detected in Pennsylvania elk.

To participate in the elk hunt, hunters must submit an application, then must be selected through a random drawing and purchase a license. The drawing annually attracts more than 30,000 applicants.

PENNSYLVANIA READIES FOR ANOTHER EXCITING DEER SEASON

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HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania’s coming firearms deer season looks as promising as ever to the hundreds of thousands of hunters awaiting its start on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Deer hunters have seen the statewide buck harvest increase over each of the past three years, and more than a million whitetails have been taken by hunters over the same period. Many are wondering, “Can it get any better?”

Unseasonably warm weather, later leaf-drop and rain made it more challenging to pattern deer movements and take whitetails throughout the statewide six-week archery season, which concluded Nov. 12. Now the Commonwealth’s “orange-clad army” awaits its next opportunity to hunt deer in the statewide firearms season.

Pennsylvania’s firearms season draws the biggest crowd and consequently has been the state’s principal deer-management tool for more than a century. In many rural areas, the opener is equivalent to a holiday, and some schools still close their doors to allow their students – and teachers – to hunt.

The firearms season opener is the day every deer hunter wants to be afield. It’s almost always the most-exciting day of the season and therefore usually offers the greatest opportunity. About 45 percent of the season’s buck harvest was taken on the opener last year.

“Opening days have been drawing the largest crowds of hunters for a long, long time,” explained Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “It’s that day when anything really can happen, when lifetime bucks are taken, when hunters are bound to see more deer than any other day of the hunting season. It’s when every hunter wants to be tucked away in the woods waiting for a big buck to come his or her way.

“The firearms season opener is always worth the wait,” Burhans said. “But so is the first Saturday of the season. Last fall, hunters took more deer on the first Saturday than the opening day – a first in Pennsylvania’s deer-management history. So, if you can find the time, get afield for both days. They really are two of the best times to be deer hunting.”

Larger-racked – and older – bucks are making up more of the deer harvest with each passing year. Last year, 163,750 bucks were taken by hunters, making it the second-largest buck harvest in Pennsylvania since antler restrictions were started in 2002. It was the 10th best all-time.

In 2017, 57 percent of the antlered buck harvest was made up of bucks 2½ years old or older, said Christopher Rosenberry, who supervises the Game Commission’s Deer and Elk Section. The rest were 1½ years old.

“Older, bigger-racked bucks are making up more of the buck harvest than they have for at least a couple decades,” Rosenberry said. “Hunters like the bucks in Pennsylvania today compared to what many of them saw 30 years ago.”

Every year, Pennsylvania hunters are taking huge bucks. Some are “book bucks,” antlered deer that make the Pennsylvania Big Game Records book or Boone & Crockett Club rankings. Others simply win neighborhood bragging rights.

But it’s important to remember, every deer matters when only about a third of hunters harvest whitetails during Pennsylvania’s slate of deer seasons.

“Whether it’s a young hunter’s first deer, or a big buck that fell to a hunter on a dark-to-dark sit, they all matter to these hunters, their families and the communities in which they live,” emphasized Burhans. “Hunting deer has been an exciting Pennsylvania pastime for centuries, and it’s sure to remain that way for many generations to come.”

 

Statewide Season

The statewide general firearms season runs from Nov. 26 to Dec. 8. In most areas, hunters may take only antlered deer during the season’s first five days, with the antlerless and antlered seasons then running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec. 1, to the season’s close. In WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, however, properly licensed hunters may take either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season.

Rules regarding the number of points a legal buck must have on one antler also vary in different parts of the state, and young hunters statewide follow separate guidelines.

For a complete breakdown of antler restrictions, WMU boundaries and other regulations, consult the 2018-19 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is available online at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov.

Hunters statewide must wear at all times a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined. An orange hat and vest will satisfy the requirement. Nonhunters who might be afield during the deer season and other hunting seasons are asked to consider wearing orange, as well.

 

Field Conditions for Deer Season

Precipitation through spring and summer have once again fostered an exceptional supply of fall foods in Penn’s Woods. Grazing grass was available in early November. Soft and some hard mast crops have been remarkably plentiful.

Cornfields have stood longer this fall than usual. Trees held their leaves longer. These conditions have made deer movements tougher to sort out. Deer typically key on food sources within good cover. And, in the case of cornfields, they might never leave them until the corn comes down. So, hunters are urged to confirm deer activity in areas they plan to hunt before they commit to them.

“Scouting is important to every hunt,” Burhans explained. “Deer like to hang out where food is the easiest to obtain. But hunter pressure and other disturbances can inspire their selection.”

Deer usually make a mess wherever they eat, so it shouldn’t be hard to sort out whether they’re using an area. Look for raked up leaves, droppings and partially eaten mast for confirmation.

When setting up a hunting stand, it’s also a good idea to use the prevailing wind to your advantage. Wherever you hunt, the prevailing wind should blow from where you expect to see deer to your location. Then, dress for the cold and sit tight.

Remember you’re not alone while you’re afield. Other hunters also are waiting on stand, still-hunting or driving for deer in groups. So, even if your position overlooking a feeding area fails to bring deer, the movements of other hunters might chase deer your way.

“Expect the unexpected on the firearms deer season opener,” Burhans noted. “It is hands-down that one day when you never know if or when that buck is coming. You must be ready to take it. Don’t let that buck of a lifetime catch you playing with your smartphone!”

 

Hunt Safely from Tree Stands – Wear a Harness

Wearing a full-body harness is essential to staying safe when using a tree stand, but a harness can prevent falls to the ground only if it is connected to the tree.

“That means you must wear your harness, and be sure it’s connected to the tree, at all times you’re in the stand, as well as when you’re getting into and out of the stand, or climbing or descending trees,” explained Meagan Thorpe, Game Commission hunter-education chief.

A hunter using a climbing stand should tie-in the safety rope or strap that pairs with the harness before beginning to climb.

Most safety ropes and straps have a sewn or knotted loop on one end, and the opposite end can be wrapped around the tree and through the loop, then cinched tightly. There’s often a separate loop, many times a carabiner loop held by a prussic knot, onto which to clip your safety harness.

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation.

You’ll want to move the safety rope or strap up the tree first, then tighten it, each time before moving the platform up the tree. If the rope is at or slightly above eye-level as you stand on the platform, you should have plenty of room to raise the platform to a higher standing position before moving the rope up the tree again before climbing.

“Make sure you have proper contact with the stand and tree every time you move,” emphasized Thorpe.

It takes only a little longer to climb with a rope, and if the stand fails due to breakage or a pin pulling out of the climbing band, or if a fall occurs because slippage or loss of balance, the harness and rope will prevent falling to the ground.

With pre-installed hang-on stands – and especially ladder stands – the most-practical way to stay connected to the tree is through a safety line, commonly referred to by the brand name Lifeline, that hangs to the ground from above the platform.

Because the safety line is installed above the platform, the tree must be climbed first, but other safety ropes or straps can be used along with your harness. When installing a safety line at a hang-on stand, a linemen’s style belt can be worn while ascending the tree. A linemen’s belt might not be an option for many ladder stands, but a separate ladder and linemen’s belt could be used to install the safety line before the ladder stand is installed.

When using a ladder stand, climbing stick or tree steps, make sure to maintain three points of contact (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) with each step.

The important points are to always take your time and be safe when using stands. Always put on your safety harness while you’re still on the ground, and keep it connected to the tree at all times until you’re back on the ground.

 

Proper Licensing

Hunters during the statewide firearms season can harvest antlered deer if they possess a valid general hunting license, which costs $20.90 for adult residents and $101.90 for adult nonresidents.

Each hunter between the ages of 12 and 16 must possess a junior license, which costs $6.90 for residents and $41.90 for nonresidents.

Hunters younger than 12 must possess a valid mentored youth hunting permit and be accompanied at all times by a properly licensed adult mentor, as well as follow other regulations.

Mentored-hunting opportunities also are available for adults, but only antlerless deer may be taken by mentored adult hunters.

Those holding senior lifetime licenses are reminded they must obtain a new antlered deer harvest tag each year, free of charge, to participate in the season.

To take an antlerless deer, a hunter must possess either a valid antlerless deer license or a valid permit. In the case of mentored hunters without their own tags, the mentor must possess a valid tag that can be transferred to the mentored hunter at the time of harvest.

In addition to regular antlerless licenses, Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits can be used to take antlerless deer. A DMAP permit can be used throughout the 12-day firearms season, but only on the specific property for which it is issued.

Regular antlerless deer licenses may be used only within the wildlife management unit for which they’re issued, in most cases starting on Saturday, Dec. 1. WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D offer concurrent antlered and antlerless deer hunting throughout the statewide firearms deer season.

DMAP permits for some properties might still be available, but at the time of this release, antlerless licenses were sold out in all units but WMUs 2A and 2B.

General hunting licenses can be purchased online, but as the season nears, hunters might find it better to purchase licenses in person. Deer licenses purchased online are mailed, meaning they might not arrive in time if purchased too close to the start of the season.

Hunters are reminded the field possession of expired licenses or tags, or another hunter’s licenses or tags is unlawful.

 

Tagging and Reporting

A valid tag must be affixed to the ear of each deer harvested before that deer is moved. The tag must be filled out with a ball-point pen by the hunter.

Within 10 days of a harvest, a successful hunter is required to make a report to the Game Commission. Harvests can be reported online at the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.gov – by clicking on the “Report a Harvest” button on the home page. Reporting online not only is the quickest way to report a harvest, it’s the most cost-effective for the Game Commission.

Harvests also can be reported by mailing in the postage-paid cards that are provided when licenses are purchased, or successful hunters can call 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681) to report by phone. Those reporting by phone are asked to have their license number and other information about the harvest ready at the time they call.

Mentored youth hunters are required to report deer harvests within five days. And hunters with DMAP or Disease Management Area 2 permits must report on their hunting success, regardless of whether they harvest deer.

By reporting their deer harvests, hunters play a key role in providing information used to estimate harvests and the deer population within each WMU. Estimates are key to managing deer populations, and hunters are asked to do their part in this important process.

 

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012. To help prevent the spread of CWD, the Game Commission created Disease Management Areas (DMA) where specific regulations apply.

Currently there are three DMAs. DMA 2 includes parts of Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Juniata, Perry, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. DMA 3 includes about 350 square miles in Armstrong, Clarion, Clearfield, Indiana and Jefferson counties. And DMA 4 encompasses 346 square miles in Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

For the specific boundaries of each DMA, check the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.gov.

Hunters harvesting deer within a DMA may not export deer parts deemed to have a high-risk of spreading CWD from the DMA. The head – specifically the brain, eyes, tonsils and lymph nodes, spinal cord and spleen are considered high-risk parts. In addition, hunters harvesting deer in CWD-positive states or provinces cannot import these high-risk parts into Pennsylvania. Once high-risk parts are removed, hunters can export the remaining meat on or off the bone, cleaned capes, cleaned skull plates with antlers, and finished taxidermy mounts from the DMA.

Hunters can dispose of high-risk parts through their curbside trash service or in dumpsters provided by the Game Commission. Locations of dumpsters can be found on the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.gov.

Hunters may take their harvested deer to any processor or taxidermist within the DMA. In some cases, cooperating processors and taxidermists just beyond the border of a DMA can accept deer from a DMA. A list of cooperating processors and taxidermists is available on the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.gov.

Hunters who take deer within DMAs can have their deer tested – free of charge – for CWD, and at the same time help the Game Commission fight this deadly disease.

The Game Commission has installed large metal bins for the collection of harvested deer heads within DMA 2, DMA 3 and DMA 4. The bins, which are similar to those used for clothing donations, keep contents secure and are checked and emptied regularly through the deer-hunting seasons.

All deer heads brought to the white-colored head-drop-off bins must be lawfully tagged, with the harvest tag legibly completed and attached to the deer’s ear and placed in a tied-shut plastic bag. The head can be bagged before being brought to the bin, or hunters can use the bags provided at bins.

Once submitted for testing, deer heads will not be returned to hunters. Hunters wishing to keep antlers should remove them prior to submitting. Hunters will be notified of disease testing results within six weeks. Hunters who harvest deer outside a DMA can make arrangements with the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System if they want their deer to be tested. There is a fee associated with this testing. More information about this process can be found online at www.padls.org.

In addition to heads deposited in bins, the Game Commission will be collecting heads from processors throughout the state for CWD surveillance. However, hunters should not assume a deer taken to a processor will be tested for CWD.

Chronic wasting disease is always fatal to deer and there is no vaccine or cure. The disease is spread by deer-to-deer contact and through the environment. Although there is no known case of it being transmitted to humans, the Game Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people do not consume meat from deer that test positive for CWD.

For more information on CWD, drop-off dumpsters and rules applying within DMAs, visit the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.us.

 

Buck Harvest Photo Contest

If you take a big buck, or a special buck, or your first buck, the Game Commission would like to hear from you.

Send us a photo of you with your Pennsylvania 2018 archery or firearms season buck, along with some limited background: your name, age and hometown, harvest date, county in which buck was taken. Photos will be accepted through Dec. 17. They must be emailed to pgc-contest@pa.gov. Use “BUCK HARVEST” in the subject line.

Game Commission staff will narrow the submitted photos in each contest into groups of contenders to be posted on the agency’s Facebook page, where users will determine the winning photos by “liking” the images. Those submitting the images of the winning archery and firearms bucks will win trail cameras.

PRELIMINARY FIRST-DAY BEAR HARVEST RESULTS

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HARRISBURG, PA – – Bear hunters started Pennsylvania’s statewide four-day black bear season with a bang on the heels of one of the nastiest early winter storms the Commonwealth has encountered in years.

The first day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of 1,241 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Last fall, bear hunters took a preliminary harvest of 659 bears on the Saturday opener, which became a record-low harvest for what is by far the best harvest day of the annual four-day bear season. And although Winter Storm Avery might have impacted hunter travel to camp country and access to the more remote forested areas bears inhabit, hunters found a way to reach bears.

This year’s first-day preliminary bear harvest positions the state for a bear harvest that could challenge for a Top-5 harvest year. The state’s fifth best harvest occurred in 2016, when a preliminary harvest of 1,297 bears was taken the opening Saturday.

Snow cover remains across much of the state’s mountainous and forested regions, which could increase bear visibility on the landscape and offer hunters a tracking snow to locate and follow bears. Without these benefits, it’s tougher to see bears in cover and pinpoint areas they’re inhabiting.

Any additional advantage bear hunters can get is important for a state with a bear population currently estimated at about 20,000.

Pennsylvania’s best opening day preliminary harvest occurred in 2011 when 1,936 bears were taken. The state record bear harvest also occurred in 2011 when 4,350 bears were taken.

Archery-bear and other early-bear season harvest data are not included in this preliminary harvest for the statewide four-day bear season, which runs from Nov. 17 to Nov. 21.

Bears have been harvested in 53 counties during the statewide season so far.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 559 pounds or more.

The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 704 pounds – was taken in Goshen Township, Clearfield County, by Mickey L. Moore, of Clearfield. He took it with a rifle at about 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 17, the season’s opening day.

The second largest bear was a 679-pound male taken at 5 yards with a .357 handgun by Jordan M. Tutmaher, of Warren. Harvested in Farmington Township, Warren County, at 8 a.m., the bear appeared in a drive of a Christmas tree patch, Tutmaher said.

Other large bears taken in the season’s opening day – all taken with a rifle – include: a 623-pound male taken in Newport Township, Luzerne County, by Corrina M. Kishbaugh, of Nanticoke; a 614-pound male taken in Toby Township, Clarion County, by Thomas C. Wilson, of Rimersburg; a 607-pound male taken in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, by Brian P. Bonner, of McAdoo; a 604-pound male taken in Young Township, Jefferson County, by Matthew J. Smith, of Punxsutawney; a 601-pound male taken in Greene Township, ­­­Pike County, by Thomas B. Hallowell, Lebanon; a 585-pound male taken in West Penn Township, Schuylkill County, by Daniel T. Fetzer, of New Ringgold; a 581-pound male taken in Fannett Township, Franklin County, by Jared E. Hevner, of Red Lion; and a 578-pound male taken in Pocono Township, Monroe County, by Nathan S. Fryer, of Tannersville.

The overall 2017 bear harvest was 3,438, the ninth largest in state history. In 2016, hunters took a total of 3,529 bears – the fifth-largest harvest all time.

Other previous first-day statewide bear harvest totals were 659 in 2017; 1,297 in 2016; 1,508 in 2015; 1,623 in 2014; 1,320 in 2013; 1,320 in 2012; 1,936 in 2011; and 1,751 in 2010.

The preliminary first-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 15 (1 in 2017); WMU 1B, 68 (11); WMU 2A, 5 (0); WMU 2C, 85 (18); WMU 2D, 83 (32); WMU 2E, 46 (5); WMU 2F, 120 (65); WMU 2G, 208 (129); WMU 2H, 46 (31); WMU 3A, 67 (43); WMU 3B, 71 (74); WMU 3C, 29 (44); WMU 3D, 90 (101); WMU 4A, 94 (29); WMU 4B, 44 (14); WMU 4C, 58 (20); WMU 4D, 77 (26); WMU 4E, 32 (14); and WMU 5A, 3 (2).

The top bear-hunting county in the state on the first day of the season was Clinton County, with 75. It was followed by Huntingdon County with 64.

Opening-day harvests by county and region are:

Northwest (245): Venango, 52 (16); Jefferson, 46 (14); Warren, 32 (22); Forest, 30 (12); Crawford, 29 (7); Clarion, 24 (17); Mercer, 11 (0); Erie, 11 (0); and Butler, 10 (2).

Southwest (128): Somerset, 39 (8); Fayette, 29 (6); Indiana, 23 (1); Armstrong, 19 (4); Cambria, 13 (4); and Westmoreland, 5 (0).

Northcentral (411): Clinton, 75 (41); Clearfield, 56 (12); Tioga, 53 (58); Lycoming, 50 (47); Cameron, 45 (20); Potter, 36 (31); McKean, 32 (16); Centre, 31 (5); Elk, 25 (28); and Union, 8 (5).

Southcentral (192): Huntingdon, 64 (16); Bedford, 39 (12); Fulton, 28 (9); Juniata, 14 (3); Franklin, 12 (4); Blair, 11 (1); Perry, 11 (3); Mifflin, 6 (5); Adams, 3 (2); Snyder, 3 (0); and Cumberland, 1 (2).

Northeast (221): Monroe, 32 (18); Luzerne, 32 (15); Bradford, 26 (10); Pike, 26 (55); Wayne, 24 (32); Wyoming, 22 (15); Sullivan, 15 (24); Carbon, 12 (9); Columbia, 10 (4); Northumberland, 9 (1); Lackawanna, 8 (14); and Susquehanna, 5 (13).

Southeast (44): Dauphin, 24 (9); Schuylkill, 12 (2); Lebanon, 4 (0); Lehigh, 3 (0); and Berks, 1 (3).

Reopening Delayed for Route 340 Bridge Salisbury Township

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Harrisburg, PA – The reopening of the bridge carrying Route 340 (Old Philadelphia Pike) over Pequea Creek in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, has been delayed.

Construction started on August 20 and was anticipated to be completed in November. However, due to unforeseen geological conditions with limestone rock that required extensive drilling, the new bridge is now anticipated to open in late December.

While the bridge remains closed, drivers will continue to follow a detour along Route 897 (White Horse Road), Route 30 (Lincoln Highway) and Route 10 (Octorara Trail).

In the event of unfavorable weather or unforeseen activities, this schedule may still change.

This bridge is referred to as JV-256 and is one out of the 558 bridges being replaced under the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. JV references the joint-venture partnership between Walsh/Granite, which is leading construction for the entire project.

The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project is a public-private partnership (P3) between PennDOT and Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners (PWKP), under which PWKP will finance, design, replace, and maintain the bridges for 25 years. The P3 approach will allow PennDOT to replace the bridges more quickly while achieving significant savings and minimizing impacts on motorists.

Aqua Pennsylvania to Restrict Phoenixville Pike and Boot Road for Utility Improvements in West Whiteland and West Goshen Townships

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King of Prussia, PA – Aqua Pennsylvania is planning weeknight lane restrictions with flagging on Phoenixville Pike in West Whiteland Township and Boot Road in West Goshen Township, Chester County, on Wednesday, November 14, through Friday, November 30, from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM, for water main installation, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

The work schedule is:

  • Phoenixville Pike between Boot Road and U.S. 202; and
  • Boot Road between Phoenixville Pike and U.S. 202.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work areas. All scheduled activities are weather dependent.

Aqua Pennsylvania will complete these projects under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.

 

Phoenixville Pike and Boot Road Lane Restrictions Chester County.JPG

PECO to Restrict Route 372 (Valley Road) Weekdays for Gas Main Improvement in Chester County

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King of Prussia, PA – PECO Energy is planning a single lane closure with flagging weekdays on Route 372 (Valley Road) between West 5th Avenue and Route 82 (Strode Avenue) in the City of Coatesville, Chester County on Friday, November 30, through Friday, December 7, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, for gas main installation, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area because backups and delays will occur. All scheduled activities are weather permitting.
PECO Energy will complete this project under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.
Route 372 (Valley Road) Lane Closure.JPG