Outdoors Notebook: Deer harvest up slightly in 2012-13, doe success rate 25 percent

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Pennsylvania's 2012-13 deer harvest held about steady from the previous license year, but was trending up.

According to a report last week by the state Game Commission, the total harvest increased 2 percent from an estimated 336,200 in 2011-12 to 343,110. Hunters shot 133,860 antlered deer, up about 5 percent from the previous kill of 127,540. The antlerless harvest was up too, but barely, with 209,250 taken in 2012-13, 208,660 killed in 2011-12.

The harvest is estimated because a large percentage of hunters don't report their kills.

"This year's antlered deer harvest is slightly above the average harvest since 2005, when agency efforts began to stabilize deer populations in most of the state," said Carl Roe, Game Commission executive director, in a written statement.

Long-term efforts to increase the age, size and health of deer are reflected in the current statistics. Roe said 49 percent of harvested bucks in 2012-13 were 1.5 year old, 51 percent were 2.5 years and older. Sixty-one percent of antlerless deer were adult females, 22 percent button bucks and 18 percent doe fawns. The hunter success rate for antlerless deer was about 25 percent. The rates were similar to long-term averages.

Lake Erie fishing

Commercial and recreational anglers on Lake Erie will be allowed to catch fewer walleye and perch this year following a report by a U.S.-Canadian fisheries management board.

The Lake Erie Percid Management Advisory Group, formed in 2010 to provide stakeholder input in perch and walleye management, suggested a 2013 allowable catch of 3.356 million walleye (3.487 million in 2012) and 12.237 million pounds of yellow perch, down 10 percent from last year's catch of 13.637 million pounds.

Commercial catch limits and recreational sizes and creel limits will be based on those recommendations.

Hatchery open house

Families enjoy the annual open house at Linesville State Fish Hatchery with its 10,000-gallon native-species viewing tank, observation of the walleye spawning process, kids casting area and other features.

The free event near Conneaut, Crawford County, runs 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. April 6. Find additional information at www.fish.state.pa.us.

huntingfishing


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