RULES AND REGULATIONS
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 135 ]
Lands and Buildings; Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area
[47 Pa.B. 2599]
[Saturday, May 6, 2017]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its March 28, 2017, meeting, amended § 135.106 (relating to Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area) to establish new parameters for establishing and managing the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area (PWMA) controlled deer hunt.
This final-form rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this final-form rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 47 Pa.B. 1475 (March 11, 2017).
1. Purpose and Authority
Controlled deer hunts have been held at the PWMA (State Game Lands 214) since at least the 1970s. Over the years various formats have been used to manage the controlled deer hunts, including hunts during the regular firearms deer season, flintlock/archery hunts during the after-Christmas season and flintlock/archery hunts outside the regular seasons. Season lengths have also varied over the years ranging from hunts lasting 1 day to others lasting 5 days. The Commission has observed that the very limited time frame and extent of this hunting pressure within the PWMA coupled with the higher hunting pressure on surrounding areas outside of the PWMA has resulted in dramatic increases in deer populations during the fall. This increase in population, albeit temporary, has had a significant negative impact on the PWMA's existing habitat.
The PWMA controlled deer hunts have proven quite popular with hunters, with over 1,000 applications received every year. The prehunt influx and retention of higher deer populations is expected to be the cause of this popularity as hunters have regularly described abundant deer sightings. The Commission has observed that typical hunts in the PWMA result in low harvest, but high wounding loss, likely the result of the high hunting pressure in the area during the controlled deer hunt.
The Commission amends § 135.106 to establish new parameters for establishing and managing the PWMA controlled deer hunt. The goal of these amendments is to provide a higher quality hunt for the participants of this limited program primarily by spreading the same number of hunters across a few weeks of the regularly established fall deer seasons rather than a few days. Hunting opportunities within the PWMA will be managed by a lottery process that is intended to more predictably and logically distribute hunting access to participants.
Section 721(a) of the code (relating to control of property) provides ''[t]he administration of all lands or waters owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the commission shall be under the sole control of the director, and the commission shall promulgate regulations . . . for its use and protection as necessary to properly manage these lands or waters.'' The amendments to § 135.106 are adopted under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This final-form rulemaking amends § 135.106 to establish new parameters for establishing and managing the PWMA controlled deer hunt.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to participate in the PWMA controlled deer hunt will be affected by this final-form rulemaking.
4. Comment and Response Summary
The Commission received one official comment in support of this final-form rulemaking.
5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This final-form rulemaking should not result in additional cost or paperwork.
6. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will be effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
7. Contact Person
For further information regarding this final-form rulemaking, contact Thomas P. Grohol, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
The Commission finds that:
(1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments 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 amendments 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 the authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 135, are amended by amending § 135.106 to read as set forth at 47 Pa.B. 1475.
(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and 47 Pa.B. 1475 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-411 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-759. Filed for public inspection May 5, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]
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