Outdoors Notebook: Hunter-trapper safety courses scheduled

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Most hunting seasons are still months off, but the longer you wait the more likely classes will be filled. All first-time hunters must successfully complete the state's Hunter-Trapper Education course before purchasing a license. Students must be 11 years of age or older. Prior to attending the class, complete the online independent study. Find registration and study materials at www.pgc.state.pa.us. Phone numbers below are for details only, not for registration.

Allegheny County

July 13 Elizabeth Township Sportsmen's Assoc., 8:45 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Limit 60. 412-414-1245.

July 13 Ross Township Recreation Center, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Limit 75. 412-635-0661.

July 19 Bullcreek Rod and Gun Club, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Limit 40. 412-767-4780.

July 26 Springdale District Sportsmen's Assoc., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Limit 45.

Washington County

July 19 Canonsburg Sportsmen's Club, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 60. 412-583-4186.

July 20 Charleroi Gun Club, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 40. 724-238-9523.

Westmoreland County

June 24 and June 26 6-9 p.m. both days. Limit 30. 814-444-1252.

June 28 Kingston Veterans and Sportsmen, 8 a.m-4 p.m. Limit 55. 724-694-2591.

July 8 Champion Christian School, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Limit 25. 724-238-9523.

July 19 Greensburg Sportsmen's Assoc., 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Limit 25. 724-771-5262.

July 19 Shaner Sportsman's Club, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Limit 45. 724-872-8431.

July 26 Herminie No. 2 Game Assoc., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 25. 724-722-3395.

Successful Bowhunter Class

Not required for archery hunting, but recommended by the state Game Commission. Complete the Pennsylvania Bowhunter Education Course at www.bowhunter-ed.com/pennsylvania before registering for Successful Bowhunting field day.

Allegheny County

July 27 Coraopolis District Sportsmen's Assoc., 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Limit 30. 724-238-9523.

Poaching in reverse

Is there a word for the illegal stocking of wildlife? It often happens when people release exotic pets into the wild, incorrectly thinking they're doing their overgrown alligator, python or piranha a favor.

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania was recently struck by the unwanted stocking of a disruptive invasive species. A misguided amateur wildlife manager thought the pond at the group's headquarters at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve in Fox Chapel would make a nice home for excess goldfish.

"They were most likely dumped in the pond by someone who didn't realize that they'd have a negative impact on the pond's established ecosystem," said Audubon spokeswoman Rachel Handel. "We use the pond for environmental programs and the goldfish need to be relocated."

So, available free to a good home: Goldfish -- lots of them. Call 412-963-6100 for details and BYOB (bring your own bucket).


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