Last updated: May 25. 2013 1:44PM - 1330 Views
By - tvenesky@civitasmedia.com

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Clubs sought for junior pheasant hunt

After more than a decade of success, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is working to expand its Junior Pheasant Hunt Program and is seeking partners to do so.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking sportsmen’s clubs and other conservation organizations to meet an increasing demand created by the youngsters who want to participate in the program.

And this year, clubs have the opportunity to host not one, but two organized junior pheasant hunts, and have been given leeway to accept more participants at the events they host.

Those new options are among the many reasons interested clubs might want to start planning their events now.

The Game Commission has organized junior pheasant hunts since 2002 as a way to create more hunting opportunities for both prospective and current junior hunters ages 12 to 16. To participate, junior hunters must have successfully completed the basic Hunter-Trapper Education course, however, they do not need to purchase a hunting license.

Recently, the program’s popularity has swelled. In 2012, 26 events filled within a two-week period, and the Game Commission estimates at least 3,000 more young hunters would take part if given the opportunity.

To qualify to host, clubs must open event registration to the public and the hunt must be held on lands open to public hunting; which could include State Game Lands or acreage enrolled in the Hunter Access Program. The Game Commission provides, free of charge, a limited number of pheasants to host clubs. Pheasants are provided on a first-come, first-served basis at a rate of two legal birds per participant, and the commission will do its best to accommodate all appropriate requests.

Changes to the guidelines governing junior pheasant hunts were made to help clubs that saw demand for such programs that was too great to accommodate with a single event. Previously, the Game Commission capped junior pheasant hunts at a maximum of 50 participants. Now, the clubs can decide how large an event they can handle. The addition of a second day also allows for some flexibility in meeting the demand, said Samantha Pedder, outreach coordinator for the Game Commission.

This year, clubs may host events on either Saturday, Oct. 12 or Oct. 19, or both.

Applications and more information, including a “Junior Pheasant Hunt Planning Guide,” can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission website. Applications to host junior hunts must be returned to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and received by Friday, July 26.

If your club or organization is interested in hosting an event this year, please contact Samantha Pedder at sapedder@pa.gov or by phone at 717-787-4250 x 3327.

Fish for Free Day tomorrow

Families and friends visiting Pennsylvania’s popular outdoor spots this holiday weekend can enjoy a day of free fishing, thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

Memorial Day - Monday, May 27 – marks the first of two free fishing days in the Commonwealth. Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone – residents and non-residents – to legally fish in Pennsylvania. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania’s waterways. All other fishing regulations apply.

The second Fish-for-Free Day is Independence Day – Thursday, July 4.

“Fish-for-Free days are an easy way to introduce friends and family to the sport of fishing,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Many families spend the day at lakes and parks throughout the state. Now they can try fishing at no cost. We know that once people try it, particularly kids, they will see that fishing is a great recreational activity and they will want to do it more.”

More information is available on the PFBC website at: www./fishandboat.com/fishforfree.htm.

In advance of the July 4 free fishing day, families can learn basic skills by attending a free Family Fishing Festival. The PFBC will host three events at these locations:

June 8 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Bald Eagle State Park, Centre County.

June 22 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Lake Arthur, Moraine State Park, Butler County.

June 29 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Lackawanna Lake, Lackawanna State Park, Lackawanna County.

Visit www.TakeMeFishingPa.com to register or learn more about these events.

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