Monday, April 26, 2010
More Deer in Pennsylvania?
The Commissioners gave final approval to add an additional 4 Wildlife Management Units (WMU's) to the split 5 day antlered and 7 day concurrent season. That makes 8 WMU's (2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D, 4E) now that do not have a concurrent season during the first week of the regular gun season. Hunters with Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAP) may still use them to harvest antlerless deer during any established deer season.
The Commissioners also made the final decision to reduce antlerless license allocations in all WMU's except 2B and 5D, where the allocation remained the same as last year. In total, the antlerless allocation was reduced by a total of 54, 577 permits. Central PA's WMU 4D was reduced by nearly 10,000 antlerless permits.
A reduction in season length and a reduction in the number of permits allocated is sure to increase deer populations. Unfortunately, these changes do not coincide with habitat recovery. The units with the reduced allocations and season length have some of the poorest understory forest conditions in the state. How the Game Commission plans on those areas supporting more deer without further habitat degradation is an area of concern.
Game Commissioner Thomas Boop, for no scientific or biologic reason, made the motion to reduce the antlerless allocations on all WMU's based on the number of DMAP permits issued last year. This reduced number will then be set aside as a maximum number of DMAP permits that will be made available for landowners during the 2010-11 seasons. In other words, no more DMAP permits will be made available this coming deer season than were allocated last year.
DMAP permits are made availavble to landowners who have an excessive number of deer on an individual property. It allows the landowner to harvest additional deer based on the rate of 1 antlerless deer per 50 acres of forestland or 1 antlerless deer per 5 acres of farmland. What it does is allow landowners to control localized heavy deer populations so that landowner objectives are able to be met. Reducing the allocation available for this program could have a significant effect on certain landowners being able to meet their own objectives for land ownership.
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