With the state's earliest antlerless archery deer seasons opening a mere two months from today, resident doe tags for the 2012-13 seasons went on sale last week. Nonresident doe tags are available for sale July 30.
As per state law, antlerless deer licenses continue to be sold only by the state's 65 county treasurers, while license allocations are determined according to the Game Commission's perceptions of the individual needs of the state's 22 wildlife management units.
An April 2012 Game Commission study concluded that in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B, deer populations are increasing. This year's license allocations for those areas are 2D (62,000), 2G (33,000), 3C (35,000) and 4B (26,000). Closer to home: 2B (67,000), 2C (50,000), 2D (62,000).
Antlerless license fees have stayed the same since 1999 with the exception of a 70-cent transaction fee added to the sale of each license when the Game Commission went to the PALS automated license system. The tags cost $6.70 for residents, $26.70 for nonresidents.
Residents and nonresidents can apply by mail or the Internet for the first round of unsold tags starting Aug. 6.
In the second round, unsold antlerless deer licenses are available Aug. 20.
Over-the-counter sales of tags for WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D are available from county treasurers starting Aug. 27, and beginning Oct. 1 over-the-counter sales are available for any WMU with remaining tags.
Got all that? There's a lot more detailed in the "Hunting and Trapping Digest" distributed with the purchase of each hunting license, and at the agency's website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Pennsylvania has dodged another viral bullet. Chronic Wasting Disease, a brain ailment lethal to deer and elk, was not detected in samples taken from hunter-killed deer in 2011. That's the 10th year the state's whitetails have been declared clean with nearly 35,000 deer and elk tested in that time.
The disease is not contagious to humans, pets or farm animals, but it's a horrible way for deer to die.
CWD has been confirmed in Maryland, just over 10 miles from Pennsylvania, in an outbreak biologists believe is likely to be part of the cluster of cases found in West Virginia.
Kids ages 12-14 will bike, hike, swim and paddle a canoe at several natural parks during a three-day outdoors camp Aug. 8-10 at McKeever Environmental Learning Center near Sandy Lake, Mercer County.