Families and friends visiting Pennsylvania’s popular outdoor spots over the July 4 holiday can enjoy a day of free fishing, thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Independence Day - Thursday, July 4 – marks the second 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 first Fish-for-Free day was Memorial Day.
“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.
Duck stamp time
The new 2013-2014 federal duck stamp went on sale this Friday, June 28. The stamps, which cost $15, are valid through June 30, 2014. Purchased by millions of waterfowl hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and collectors every year, duck stamps help raise money to purchase and protect wetlands for ducks, geese and other wildlife species.
The winning artwork for the 2013-2014 federal duck stamp: a common goldeneye, painted by San Francisco wildlife artist Robert Steiner.
“Duck stamps are one of the traditional ways hunters and others give back to conservation,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “We encourage everyone, whether they hunt waterfowl or not, to buy a duck stamp to help conserve our precious wetland resources. Many duck hunters even ‘double up’ their contributions to this conservation effort by buying two stamps every year.”
Also available on Friday will be the new junior duck stamp. This stamp is part of a yearlong conservation program used by educators across the nation. This year, more than 29,000 students participated in state junior duck stamp competitions. Junior duck stamps sell for $5, and the funds go toward environmental education.
The duck stamp, also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, dates back to 1934. Since then, the program has raised $750 million to help acquire and protect more than 5.3 million acres of wetlands within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a duck stamp while hunting. A duck stamp also provides free admission to national wildlife refuges (NWRs) that are open to the public. Duck stamps are sold at post offices nationwide, online through the U.S. Postal Service, at www.duckstamp.com and at many NWRs and sporting goods stores. Electronic versions of the duck stamp can also be purchased online – visit www.fws.gov/duckstamps for more information.
Don’t drink and boat
As the busy July 4 holiday approaches, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is reminding vacationers that boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious crime and a threat to public safety.
“Boating under the influence is no different than driving a car after someone’s been drinking,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. For the safety of all individuals on the water, please do not operate your boat, jet ski, canoe or kayak if you’ve been drinking.”
So far this year, five individuals have been charged with boating under the influence. PFBC waterways conservation officers arrested 60 individuals in 2012 and 62 in 2011 for boating under the influence.
“Many boaters may not know that the threshold for BUI is the same as with motor vehicles – 0.08 percent,” said Corey Britcher, director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Fish and Boat officers regularly patrol waterways and will have an increased presence around this holiday.”
If convicted of boating under the influence, operators could face fines and jail time.
Pennsylvania has more than 331,000 registered boats. Because the July 4 holiday falls mid-week, the PFBC expects many families and friends will take vacation during the week, leading to a higher volume of boating activity on the days leading up to the weekend.
For more information on boating safety, visit http://fishandboat.com/safety.htm.