No one is born with an innate knowledge of how to hunt, and you can't practice with a rented sporting arm and other gear before making what can be a sizeable investment.
For a generation of Americans who grew up without an outdoors mentor, learning to hunt on their own can be complicated and confusing. Interest sometimes fades.
With that in mind, the Pennsylvania Game Commission recently proposed the creation of a Mentored Adult Hunting Program. Based on the successful Mentored Youth Hunting Program, it would get adult newcomers into the woods with a knowledgeable companion before requiring them to take the hunter-trapper safety course and buy a license.
Under the proposal, adults would need to be within sight of their mentors and close enough to hear verbal guidance and instruction. Mentored adults would be permitted to hunt only squirrels, rabbits, hares, pheasants, grouse, quail, porcupines, woodchucks, crows, coyotes, wild turkeys and antlerless deer. The mentor could transfer one tag per year to the mentored adult for a big-game harvest. Antlered deer could not be hunted under the program.
As proposed, mentored adults could hunt without a general license for up to three consecutive years. The program would save newcomers the time involved in studying for and completing the safety course, but not much money. A resident mentored adult permit would cost $19.70. A general adult hunting license costs $20.70. Nonresident mentored adults would pay an expected $100.70 for a permit.
The program is expected to be approved at the commission's April meeting.
Penalized for poaching
An Adams County man was jailed for violating Pennsylvania's tough anti-poaching laws. Following a joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, Kyle Kahn, 29, of Orrtanna, Pa., was charged with numerous felony and misdemeanor violations of the state Game and Wildlife Code.
According to the state Game Commission and local media reports, on the morning of Nov. 27, 2013, a car with a spotlight shining from it was observed traveling through an orchard southeast of Gettysburg. A shot was heard and a deer was soon found in the area killed by an apparent gunshot to the head.
Investigators from the state police and Game Commission said evidence was found leading them to Kahn's residence. With a search warrant and assistance from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, additional evidence was discovered at the suspect's residence including several rifles and 350 pounds of packaged frozen venison.
Kahn was apprehended by the Adams County Probation Department and charged with three felony counts of taking big game out of season, four misdemeanor counts of taking big game out of season and other violations. He was jailed in Adams County and freed on $5,000 bail Feb. 3. He waived his hearing before a magistrate, and his case is pending in Adams County Court.
Kahn couldn't be reached for comment.
Turkey hunting course
Whether you're a veteran turkey hunter or can't tell a yelp from a fly-down cackle, there's something to be learned in the state's Successful Turkey Hunting workshop. Safety, shot selection, calling, scouting, decoys and shooting are included in the day-long $15 class. Pre-class independent study is required. Three classes are planned: Beaver County, March 29, Pine Run Sportsmen; Allegheny County, April 5, Bullcreek Rod and Gun Club; Greene County, April 13, State Gameland 223. Register online at www.pgc.state.pa.us.