As Pennsylvania bow hunters take to the woods during the first of two antlered and antlerless archery deer seasons (Sept. 29-Nov. 12, Dec. 26-Jan. 12), the state Game Commission has taken action to ease one of archers' greatest annoyances.
Some riders of all-terrain vehicles routinely violate laws restricting their access to state-maintained hunting grounds. Unauthorized ATV use is one of the most frequent violations encountered by Wildlife Conservation Officers, but state law requires WCOs to contact other law enforcement authorities in some ATV cases. Offending operators often get away to destroy more habitat and disturb more wildlife.
A regulation passed last week during the Game Commission's fall meeting permits WCOs to enforce requirements regarding registration and insurance carried by operators on state game lands and private properties enrolled in the agency's Hunter Access Program.
"Illegal ATV operation is a major source of wildlife habitat destruction across the state, and these violations are often accompanied by ATV classification offenses, such as a lack of registration or insurance," said Carl Roe, Game Commission executive director, in a written statement. "This amendment will ensure safe and effective enforcement of these requirements occurring on lands under Game Commission ownership, lease, agreement or control."
Pennsylvania State Police, Troop D-Butler, said the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was investigating thefts from motor vehicles that were broken into last weekend while parked near the marinas at Moraine and Goddard state parks.
The Conneaut Lake access area in Crawford County will temporarily close Tuesdaywhile the state Fish and Boat Commission dredges sediment near the boat launch and installs a pipeline at Inlet Run. The project is expected to take two months.
With waters cooling everywhere, the Fish and Boat Commission's fall trout stocking program will get under way this week in creeks and lakes throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Find details at www.fish.state.pa.us.
New hunters are required to complete a state Hunter-Trapper Safety Course before getting a license to hunt this fall. A limited number of courses has been scheduled for the coming weeks. Don't wait. Before it's too late, find a convenient course at www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Water will be released from High Point Lake in Somerset County and Donegal Lake in Westmoreland County beginning this week and continuing through February. Drawdowns are used to manage aquatic plant growth and fish populations.
Jeff Blood, local innovator of the popular Blood Dot egg pattern, will host a free tying workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday at International Angler, Robinson. 412-788-8088.