The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) is asking hunters and non-hunters alike to join their annual Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Sighting Survey that began July 1 and extends through the month of August.
According to the PGC, each summer, Pennsylvanians help track wild turkey populations by reporting their turkey sightings to the agency. And this year, they’ll have two months instead of one to make observations and report them.
Turkey sighting reports can be made through the Game Commission’s mobile app or on the agency’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov. On the website, click on “Turkey Sighting Survey” in the Quick Clicks section. The mobile app can be found by searching for “Pennsylvania Game Commission” in the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store, and selecting “Turkey Sighting Survey.”
Says the PGC, information submitted helps the agency analyze turkey reproduction. Participants are requested to record the number of wild turkeys they see, along with the general location, date, and contact information if agency biologists have any questions.
Mary Jo Casalena, PGC wild-turkey biologist says, “By reporting all turkeys seen during each sighting, whether gobblers, hens with broods or hens without broods, the data helps us determine total productivity, and allow us to compare long-term reproductive success.”
Casalena goes on to say, “The 2019 spring-turkey population was approximately 212,200, which was slightly below the three-year running average of 216,900. With last summer’s sighting survey showing average reproductive success (2.4 poults per hen), the statewide turkey population was stable coming into this year’s breeding season. At the Wildlife Management Unit level, reproductive success in 2019 improved in 10 of 23 WMUs compared to 2018. It was similar to 2018 in three WMUs, but declined to below average in 10 WMUs. Areas where reproduction declined were mainly northern and southeastern Pennsylvania, and within some southcentral WMUs.
Resident antlerless deer hunting licenses went on sale Monday, July 13, and for nonresidents, Monday, July 20.
Resident applicants need to make checks and money orders payable to “County Treasurer” for $6.90 for each license they seek. The fee for nonresidents is $26.90 per license.
A list of participating county treasurers and their addresses can be found within the 2020-21Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is provided to all license buyers and available to view online. However, the 2020-21 digest incorrectly lists the address for the Luzerne County treasurer. The correct address for sending antlerless deer license applications to the Luzerne County treasurer is 200 North River Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711.
In any WMU where antlerless licenses remain, resident and nonresident applicants may apply for a second license beginning Aug. 3, and a third license Aug. 17.
In most parts of the state, hunters are limited to purchasing a total of three antlerless licenses. However, in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, there is no limit to how many tags a hunter may acquire until the total allocation has been exhausted.
If licenses remain, over-the-counter sales are slated to begin Aug. 24 in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, and Oct. 5 in all other WMUs, though over-the-counter sales could be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
For the first time this year, participants in Pennsylvania’s mentored hunting program who are at least 7 years old can apply for their own antlerless deer licenses and Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits, which can be used to harvest antlerless deer on specific properties.
With three upcoming elk seasons (a September archery season, the November general elk season and a January season for antlerless elk), elk hunting hopefuls need to apply before July 31 to apply for a license.
The number of licenses available, that are awarded by lottery, has been increased – 26 will be awarded for the archery season (10 antlered, 16 antlerless), 104 for the general season (26 antlered, 78 antlerless) and 34 for the antlerless-only January season.
Elk license applications can be submitted online or at any license issuing agent. A separate application, costing $11.90, is needed for each season. Hunters wishing to apply for all three pay $35.70 to apply. In each drawing, season-specific bonus points are awarded to those who aren’t drawn.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.