RULES AND REGULATIONS
[58 PA. CODE CH. 141]
Game Lands and Goose Hunting
[27 Pa.B. 313]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) adopted the following change:
Amend § 141.25 (relating to early and late goose hunting seasons) by establishing new season dates with the guidelines approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and establishing new geographical boundaries for this season.
The amendment is adopted under 34 Pa. Code (relating to the Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
The Commission, at its October 8, 1996, meeting proposed, and by notational vote finally adopted amendments to § 141.25 for 1997. The change provides for a late Canada goose hunting season from January 15 through February 15 unless one of those dates is a Sunday, in most of this Commonwealth with the exception of parts of the northwestern and southeastern regions.
These special seasons, which were originally adopted under sections 322(c)(1) and 2102(b)(1) of the code (relating to powers and duties of Commission; and regulations) will established with the approval of the Atlantic Waterfowl Council (AWC) and the USFWS. The primary purpose of the early and late seasons is to reduce resident Canada goose populations which should reduce crop damage and nuisance goose complaints.
2. Purpose and Authority
Resident Canada goose populations have been increasing in most of this Commonwealth since the 1970's. Associated with these increases have been increases in crop damage and nuisance complaints. The Commission has sought to direct harvest pressure at growing resident goose populations through longer seasons and larger bag limits. At the same time, the USFWS has closed the regular goose season because of concerns about migratory populations.
The early and late Canada goose seasons allowed in prior years were successful in harvesting nuisance geese and providing additional recreational opportunities. This solution to the nuisance resident goose problem can only work over a period of time, however. That is why the Commission has adopted a late season for 1997. Part of northwestern Pennsylvania has been excluded from the late season because the USFWS has allowed a regular goose season. Part of southeastern Pennsylvania has been excluded by the USFWS because of a concern that a high percentage of migratory geese may be harvested.
Section 322 of the code specifically empowers the Commission to ''. . . fix seasons . . . and daily, season, and possession limits for any species of game or wildlife.'' Section 2102(b) of the code mandates that the Commission promulgate regulations relating to seasons and bag limits. The authority for the permit aspects of the amendment is section 2901(b) of the code (relating to authorization to issue permits).
3. Regulatory Requirements
The changes do not involve regulatory requirements above what is already in § 141.25. A migratory game bird license is required to hunt Canada geese in the late season.
4. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to hunt Canada geese in this Commonwealth in the late season would be affected by this amendment. Farmers and others experiencing crop and other goose damage in the affected area would benefit from the reduction in populations.
5. Comments and Response Summary
No written comments were received.
6. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
There is no additional cost or paperwork.
7. Effective Dates
The effective date is January 15, 1997, until modified or rescinded by the Commission.
8. Contact Person
For further information on the proposed changes, contact James R. Fagan, Director, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
The Commission finds that:
(1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendment adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.
(2) The adoption of the amendment of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.
The Commission, acting under authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 141, are amended by amending § 141.25 and Appendix E to read as set forth in Annex A.
(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall submit this order and Annex A to the Office of Attorney General for approval as to legality.
(c) The Executive Director shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(d) This order shall take effect upon publication and applies retroactively to January 15, 1997.
DONALD C. MADL,
(Editor's Note: The proposed amendment of § 135.2 (relating to unlawful actions), included in the proposal at 26 Pa.B. 5442 (November 9, 1996), will be considered by the Commission at a later date.)
Fiscal Note: 48-95-A. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 141. HUNTING AND TRAPPING
§ 141.25. Early and late goose hunting seasons.
(a) Early season and description.
(1) Subject to approval of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, there will be an early Canada goose hunting season starting on September 1 (except when Sunday, then September 2), and ending on September 25 (except when Sunday, then September 24) Statewide. Geese may be taken on the Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and an area to extend 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir excluding the area east of L. R. 20006.
(2) Geese may not be taken in that portion of Crawford County which is in the area south of Route 6 from the Ohio line to its intersection with Route 322 in the town of Conneaut Lake and north of Route 322 west to the Ohio line, or in Lancaster/Lebanon Counties in the area east of S. R. 501 from Shaefferstown to the Pa. Turnpike, north of the Pa. Turnpike to S. R. 272, west of S. R. 272 to S. R. 897, and south of S. R. 897 to Shaefferstown, referred to as closed areas.
(3) Bag limit. There is a daily bag limit of three and a possession limit of six with the exception of the closed areas in Crawford and Lancaster/Lebanon Counties.
(b) Late season and description.
(1) Areas. Subject to approval of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, there is a late Canada goose hunting season beginning on January 15 (except when Sunday, then January 16), and ending on February 15 (except when Sunday, then February 14) Statewide, with the exception of Erie, Mercer, Butler, Crawford and the area east of I-83 from the Maryland State line to the intersection of U. S. Route 30 to the intersection of S. R. 441, east of S. R. 441 to intersection of I-283, east of I-283 to I-83, east of I-83 to intersection of I-81, east of I-81 to intersection of I-80, and south of I-80 to the New Jersey State line.
(2) Bag limit. There is a daily bag limit of five and a possession limit of ten geese.
(3) Map. See map of Late Canada Goose Areas in Appendix E.
(c) Shooting hours. Shooting hours for goose hunting during the early and late goose hunting seasons is 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset.
(d) Permit required.
(1) Licensed hunters wishing to hunt Canada geese during the early or late season shall obtain a permit and goose harvest report card for the respective season in one of the following ways:
(i) By sending their name, address and telephone number together with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Harrisburg Office of the Commission.
(ii) By submitting their name, address and telephone number at the sales counter of the Commission's Harrisburg Office or one of its regional offices.
(2) Early and late goose hunting permits will be issued free-of-charge.
(3) Individuals hunting geese during the early or late goose season shall have in their possession a valid Pennsylvania hunting license, the appropriate early or late goose hunting permit and a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation (Duck) Stamp, if they are 16 years of age or older.
(4) Recipients of early and late goose hunting permits shall return a properly completed goose harvest report card to the Harrisburg Office of the Commission within 10 days following the close of the respective early and late seasons. Failure to return a properly completed goose harvest report card could result in the loss of eligibility to receive future early or late goose season permits.
(e) Unlawful acts. It is unlawful to:
(1) Hunt Canada geese during the early or late goose hunting seasons inside the boundaries of the closed area.
(2) Hunt Canada geese during the early or late goose hunting seasons without the required permit for the respective season.
(3) Fail to return the goose harvest report card within the allotted time, even if no harvest occurred.
(4) Provide false information on the goose harvest report card.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 97-79. Filed for public inspection January 17, 1997, 9:00 a.m.]
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