From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission


Pennsylvania Fluorescent Orange Requirement Charts

Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin pie, falling leaves and candy corn all display the color that we associate with autumn—orange! Many hunters also add orange to their fall attire. This fluorescent orange helps hunters to be seen and to see others who are wearing it while afield.  Fluorescent orange requirements vary by game season. The visual charts below come in handy when figuring out which fluorescent orange attire is required.

Click on the images to enlarge.

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If you have questions about orange requirements, check the Hunting and Trapping Digest, , e-mail pgccomments@pa.gov, or call your region office.

Region office contact information can be found here: http://tiny.cc/ROffice

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Benefits of Bats

As Halloween approaches, images of bats becomes more prevalent. Bats have a bad reputation for carrying diseases and getting tangled in hair. However, these tiny flying mammals provide great benefits to humans.

batlilbrown-kosack

Game Commission Photo by Joe Kosack

BENEFITS OF BATS

Bats are the only major predators of night flying insects.

  • Bats play an important role in controlling many insect pests.
  • A single bat can consume as many as 500 insects in just one hour, or nearly 3,000 insects every night.
  • A colony of 100 little brown bats, may consume more than a quarter of a million mosquitos and other insects per night.

Healthy bat populations decrease the demand for chemical pesticides.

  • Bats benefit farmers by eating agricultural pests such as June bugs, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, and corn rootworms.

Bats are great pollinators.

  • Bats helps to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs.

Bats help to maintain forest health.

  • Some bats feed on forest pests such as tent caterpillar moths.

Bat droppings in caves support ecosystems of unique organisms

  • Cave bat droppings support bacteria that is used in detoxifying wastes, improving detergents and producing antibiotics.

HOW CAN I SUPPORT BATS?

Once people learn the beneficial role that bats play in controlling insects, they often want to attract bats to their yards and garden.

Bat boxes provide shelter opportunities for bats. Plans for bat boxes can be found on the Game Commission website. A bat box may remain vacant because of other roosts in the area. However if roosts are scarce, bats may move in quickly.

-Excerpts from:

A Homeowner’s Guide to Northeastern Bats and Bat Problems, Penn State Extension

and Year of the Bat 2011-12, Bat Facts, Bat Conservation International


LEGISLATION TO ALLOW CONSERVATION OFFICERS TO USE BODY CAMERAS HAS CLEARED THE HOUSE

law enforcement
Urging State Senate to Increase Officer Safety

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough today urged the state Senate to act quickly to pass legislation that would allow Wildlife Conservation Officers working for the Game Commission and Waterways Conservation Officers working for the state Fish and Boat Commission to wear body cameras in performance of their official duties.

The state House of Representatives overwhelmingly has supported House Bill 2178, which was sponsored by state Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams County. The bill passed the House in June by a vote of 191-5. Hough urged the Senate to follow suit.

Mobile Video-Recording Devices Would Be Helpful During Fall Hunting Seasons

“As most Pennsylvanians know, the fall hunting seasons are almost here, and our officers already have begun ramping up patrols to stop poaching activity and other illegal practices,” Hough said. “Mobile video-recording devices have been shown to make the jobs of law-enforcement officers safer, and a timely vote by Senators to allow our Wildlife Conservation Officers to wear the cameras now, as they enter their busiest time of year, would have an immediate impact with measurable results. “I thank Senators in advance for making officer safety a high priority,” Hough said.

The use of body cameras already has been expressly approved by the state Legislature for other police agencies statewide. The devices, which can be clipped onto an officer’s uniform, are similar to the dashboard cameras installed in most law-enforcement vehicles. The mobile cameras are considered especially suitable for Wildlife Conservation Officers, who often patrol while on foot.

Cameras Help to Defuse Hostile Situations

The mere presence of cameras can quickly defuse what might otherwise become hostile situations, and cameras often capture valuable evidence that increases the chances of successful prosecutions.

Cameras Support Transparency

A report from the Department of Justice concluded that when implemented correctly, body-worn cameras can help strengthen the policing profession. These cameras can help promote agency accountability and transparency, and they can be useful tools for increasing officer professionalism, improving officer training, preserving evidence, and documenting encounters with the public.

Cameras Already Purchased

The Game Commission in 2012 purchased body cameras for its officers, and officers used them briefly in the field before the law was changed to provide that only state and municipal police officers could use body cameras. Moul, whose legislative district includes the area of Adams County where Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove was shot and killed by a poacher in 2010, sponsored the legislation as a way to increase officer safety. The Senate could vote on the bill as early as this week.


MANHUNT PLACES HUNTING SEASONS ON HOLD IN SEVEN TOWNSHIPS IN WMU 3D

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has temporarily closed all hunting and trapping seasons within seven townships in northeastern Pennsylvania, where the search continues for a fugitive wanted in the shooting death of a state police trooper.

What townships are affected?

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough issued an executive order to close temporarily the hunting and trapping seasons within Price, Barrett and Paradise townships in Monroe County; and Blooming Grove, Porter, Lehman and Greene townships in Pike County.The townships all are within Wildlife Management Unit 3D.Hunting Closure

What lands does this affect?

The closure affects all private and public lands, including the portions of State Game Lands 180, 183 and 221 located within those townships. Those portions of game lands are closed to all public access while the executive order is in effect.

How long will those areas be closed?

Hunting and trapping seasons will remain closed in the identified townships until the executive order is lifted, which will be announced by the Game Commission in a statewide news release that will be posted on the agency’s website at the time it is issued.

Why are these areas closed?

The closure was initiated after the Pennsylvania State Police advised on Tuesday that troopers who are part of the search for fugitive Eric Frein had uncovered explosive devices that apparently were left behind in wooded areas by the fugitive, and would pose an obvious danger to anyone who would encounter them.

Hough said the discovery of the devices, and the danger associated with the search effort in general, would pose too great a risk to hunters, trappers and members of the general public.

“While we realize this temporary closure might disappoint some of the hunters and trappers it affects, we’re certain, too, they understand the gravity of the situation, as well as the danger in allowing the seasons to continue as scheduled, given this new information,” Hough said. “Plenty of good hunting and trapping opportunities remain outside of the temporarily closed area, and we need hunters to readily adjust their plans to help bring resolution to this case and see that justice is served.”

Frein is wanted in the Sept. 12 ambush-shooting death of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson II outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pike County. Trooper Alex Douglass was wounded in the attack. The search for Frein has continued since, and police recently discovered explosive devices – at least one of which was attached to a trip wire – in the area they were searching.

What authorizes the Game Commission to close hunting seasons?

The Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code authorizes the Game Commission to close any hunting or trapping season, or otherwise take necessary action, to assure the purposes of the code, including assuring the health and safety of the persons who hunt or take game and wildlife.

The Game Commission earlier this week issued an advisory to those who might be planning to hunt in the area of the search, and indicated that the seasons would continue as scheduled, but the recent findings by state police changed the circumstances.

Safety is paramount
Game Commissioner James J. Delaney Jr. , who represents Pike, Monroe and other northeastern Pennsylvania counties as part of the eight-member board that sets policy for the Game Commission, said the temporary closure is supported in full by the commissioners and is necessary given the totality of circumstances.

By closing the hunting seasons in the area of the search, the Game Commission hopes to remove any risk to human safety, and ensure there will be no interference in the effort to apprehend Frein.

“The suspect has demonstrated a disregard for human life,” Delaney said, “The safety of the law-enforcement officers who are part of the search, as well as that of the sporting public, must take precedence here.”

Message to sportsmen and women

Approximately 80% of WMU 3D is not closed to hunting. Some of the areas that remain open to hunting in WMU 3D include public state game land.

It is too soon to speculate on what action the Commission could take if the Executive Order remains in effect for an extended period of time. Right now our primary focus is on the safety and well being of our hunting license buyers and on assisting the state police in their search for Eric Frein. We thank you for understanding and for your patience.