The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to fall turkey seasons for 2012 and spring gobbler dates for 2013, and added fall turkey to the line-up for those participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (MYHP).
The fall season dates for 2012: Oct. 27-Nov. 10 and Nov. 22-24 for Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D; Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24 for WMUs 2B, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E. (northwestern Warren County falls within WMU 1B, while southeastern Warren County falls within WMU 2F).
Also, fall season dates of Oct. 30-Nov. 1 were set for WMU 5A; and WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D will remain closed for the fall seasons.
In related action, the board gave final approval to remove the sporting arm limitations for fall turkey season in WMUs 1A, 1B and 2A, which presently requires the use of shotguns, crossbows or bows. While this move allows fall turkey hunters to choose to use rifles in these three WMUs, the use of rifles in Allegheny County, which is a designated Special Regulations Area county, will continue to be prohibited.
With the expanded use of rifles for fall turkey seasons in WMUs 1A, 1B and 2A, the board gave preliminary approval to a change in regulations governing the mandatory wearing of fluorescent orange to be consistent with the present orange requirements for WMUs in which rifles may be used for fall turkey hunting. Specifically, fall turkey hunters in these three WMUs now will be required to wear a hat containing a minimum of 100 square inches of orange while moving or relocating and to post an orange band within 15 feet of their stationary hunting location.
For the 2013 spring gobbler season, which will run from April 27-May 31, the board continued the change in legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from April 27 until May 11, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon timeframe; and from May 13-31, hunters may hunt all day, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
The board set the one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt on April 20, which will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. All junior license holders and Mentored Youth Hunting Program permit holders can participate in this special one-day hunt, as well as the other spring season dates.
Additionally, the board adopted a regulatory change to include fall turkey for MYHP permit holders. Under the change, adult mentors will have to transfer their fall turkey tag to a mentored youth if the youth harvests a fall turkey. A mentored youth may only have one fall turkey license transferred to him or her per license year.
The list of other legal species for the MYHP is: antlered deer; antlerless deer, with the transfer of an antlerless deer license from the adult mentor; coyotes; groundhogs; squirrels and spring gobbler.