The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 20, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Don't forget to report deer harvests

By Bob Garrett
For The Daily Item

SUNBURY — “Don’t rush me; I’m waiting until the last minute.”



Usually this time of year we associate “last minute” to shopping.

But here’s one more last minute reminder for those of you who were lucky enough to bag a whitetail to make sure that you report your deer harvests. You can make a very valuable contribution to Pennsylvania’s deer management program by just taking the few minutes to complete this report.

Hunters who harvest big game in Pennsylvania are required to report their harvests to the Game Commission using one of three methods and each of these methods takes only minutes to complete.

Hunters can go to the Game Commission’s website and report harvests online, or they can make reports by calling toll-free: 1-855-724-8681

They can also fill out and return the postage-paid report cards that were included in their 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest. Additionally, hunters who obtain antlerless deer permits through the Deer Management Assistance Program or DMAP are required to submit a report, regardless of their harvest success.

If you opt for the call-in method, please have your hunting license number, which is also known as your customer number and field harvest tag information and the Wildlife Management Unit number and letter that your harvest came from handy.



Another last-minute idea

The cold weather this week certainly has many of us thinking about possibly ice fishing this winter. The mild winters that we’ve had the past few years have put a damper on many good and safe ice fishing opportunities.

 So here are a couple of actual last-minute gift ideas for the ice anglers or potential ice fisherman on your gift-giving lists.

The most-obvious suggestion is one that is growing in popularity each year with ice anglers, and that is an “inline” or “straight line” fishing rod and reel. This type of reel resembles fly fishing gear and it has a bait casting-style of handle and rod.

The fans of this type of reel say that it eliminates a lot of the line twist you get from fishing deep water with small jigs on traditional spinning reels. A quick review of several fishing supply magazines indicates that the entire outfit should be available for around $50 dollars.

A good stocking stuffer might be a couple of better-quality LED flashlights.

No matter how well I plan, I always seem to end up ice fishing for some period of time in the dark.

Jigs are another great stocking stuffer. The brighter-the-better is my motto. Ask the staff at your favorite fishing supply store for suggestions based on what they’ve heard are the popular jigs this year. You might want to consider a tackle box to put the jigs and some other fishing supplies into to complete an entire package.

Heck, having the tackle box available will also make for easy wrapping.



Pheasant stock wrapping up

Today was scheduled to be the last Pennsylvania Game Commission’s pheasant stocking for this season. However, some of the lands that were scheduled to be stocked will wait a few weeks longer for their pheasants.

It turns out that an outbreak of avian cholera was detected in a pen last week at the Loyalsock Game Farm. So about 2,400 pheasants that were to be released today, won’t be released until their medical treatments have concluded.

The affected stocking areas are: Northcentral Region: Clearfield County; Southcentral Region: Cumberland and Franklin counties; Northeast Region: Carbon and Monroe counties; and Southeast Region: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.

Avian cholera is a bacterial infection that is contagious among birds and could affect other animals, but typically presents no human health risk.

Aside from these affected birds, nearly 9,000 pheasants remain scheduled for release this week. The Game Commission’s game farms have been having an above-average production year.

The goal of releasing 200,000 pheasants has been surpassed, with more than 209,000 released so far this year.

Just a reminder that pheasant season is closed on Christmas Day, but otherwise runs until February 22, 2014.