KIRIK: Pennsylvania Game Commission looks to expand hunting chances during two Sundays

Erie Times-News (TNS)
Pa. Game Commission logo

If you only have a couple days to do something, you should be able to take full advantage of those opportunities.

That appears to be the focus of what’s happening with the Pennsylvania Game Commission regarding Sunday hunting. The commission opened three Sundays for big game hunting in 2020.

The commission is now planning to discuss what additional animals can be hunted on two of the three Sundays that have been approved for sportsmen.

Some of the proposed changes on the state's agenda include adding small game hunting to the Sundays that were used last year for archery deer and black bear hunting. The plans will be discussed at a virtual meeting of the game commission's board Jan. 23 at 8:30 a.m.

Under the proposal, archery deer hunting Sunday, Nov. 14, and black bear hunting Sunday, Nov. 21, would include small game such as squirrel, pheasants, ruffed grouse, rabbits and groundhogs. Turkey are not included in these days.

The third Sunday that allows hunting is proposed to be Nov. 28 for rifle deer season. No additional animals are being considered for this Sunday.

Streamlining regulations: Another change being discussed is to streamline regulations for rifle deer season.

The proposal would make the two-week season after Thanksgiving be buck and doe throughout the commonwealth. Right now, some wildlife management units offer buck only hunting the first week and then buck and doe the second week. The change would make the entire state have the same two-week buck and doe season. The meeting's agenda said the change is "recommended to simplify regulations and provide increased opportunity, especially for younger hunters."

eLicense: Another proposal will allow hunters to carry a digital eLicense on their smartphone or a printed form of their hunting license. That's a change from the requirement of having to carry the yellow state-issued license. You will still need to have the state-issued tags for animals that come with your license, as they can't be duplicated by hunters.

For areas of the state where there seems to be more doe licenses than hunters, the commission is considering ways to increase the total number of doe licenses being held by a hunter from three to four. The proposal reads: "For most hunters, this means that they would be authorized to purchase their fourth antlerless license over-the-counter starting on the second Monday in September as long as a quota remains available."

More opportunities: It's clear the commission is looking to make the most of the days hunters have to hunt. The proposed changes do make sense and should be approved.

If you want new and tenured hunters to stay afield, they need to be able to make the most of those few days that they can be in the woods. The ideas being discussed are aimed at provided those opportunities.