Outdoors Notebook: ATVs, hunters collide over airport lands

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About 18 months ago, "No Trespassing" signs went up on several hundred acres of long-hunted land in Findlay. The property owner was Pittsburgh International Airport, but the posting had nothing to do with guns and airplanes.

The problem was, and continues to be, all-terrain vehicles tearing up environmentally valuable wetlands in a small, non-operational corner of the airport.

Last week, about 90 people attended a meeting called by state Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny) to address issues related to the posted property.

Hunters bemoaned the loss of hunting grounds, and a representative of the Pennsylvania Game Commission explained the value of public hunting in controlling deer populations on several hundred acres of non-operational land on the airport's 9,000 acres.

"The purpose of the meeting was to create a forum to get the parties together to hear the facts," said Rep. Mustio. "Let's see if the airport authority could reconsider making a minor change in their decision and reopen land that had been hunted forever. The damage was done by ATVs, but the ATVs are still there. Hunters can help push them out -- they don't want to be where there's hunting."

The area in dispute is far from the flight paths, he said. Airport staff routinely cull deer from operational areas where trespassing is prohibited.

Allegheny black bear

Days after new liberal bear-hunting regulations went into affect, Aaron Hwosdow, 17, of West Deer legally killed a 350-pound bruin while hunting during the special antlerless deer archery season in Wildlife Management Unit 2B. It was the first black bear harvested with a bow in Allegheny County.

Musky workshop

Things are changing for the apex predator of regional lakes and rivers. A new draft musky management plan proposes altering regulations and stocking strategies. The plan is posted at www.fishandboat.com/musky-plan.htm.

A public meeting on muskies hosted by the state Fish and Boat Commission starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Rose Barn on Mill Road at North Park, Allegheny County. Sign up online to offer first comments.

Turkey course

The Game Commission will hold a program on successful turkey hunting 9 a.m-5 p.m. Oct. 6 at Mars Rod and Gun Club, 141 Cashdollar Rd., Butler County. The class includes orienteering, shot selection, calling and safety. Bring 20- or 12-guage shotguns, ammunition provided. $15, details and registration at www.pgc.state.pa.us.



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