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PROPOSED RULEMAKING

[ 58 PA. CODE CHS. 135 AND 143 ]

Lands and Buildings—Special Wildlife Management Areas; Hunting and Furtaker Licenses—Antlerless Deer Licenses

[47 Pa.B. 2774]
[Saturday, May 13, 2017]

 To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its March 28, 2017, meeting, proposed to amend §§ 135.103 and 143.42 (relating to registration for controlled goose hunting areas; and definitions) to require that registrations for controlled goose hunting areas and antlerless licenses be submitted on a form and in the manner designated by the Commission. These proposed amendments will allow the Commission and public greater access to electronic sources and methods of application. The Commission is also proposing to amend § 135.103 and § 135.104 (relating to restrictions on controlled goose hunting areas) to update the parameters for establishing and managing the controlled hunts at the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas.

 This proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.

 The authority for this proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).

 This proposed rulemaking was made public at the March 24, 2017, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until June 23, 2017, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

1. Purpose and Authority

 To efficiently use the Commonwealth's resources, beginning in 2017, the Commission will no longer provide hard copies of the entire Hunting & Trapping Digest (Digest) to license buyers free of charge. Rather, the Commission will be providing an abbreviated version of the seasons and bag limits, and directing license buyers to the web site and smartphone application for the entire version of the Digest. This cost saving measure is made necessary by the fact that the Commission has not had a license increase since 1999. As a consequence of the move away from the paper Digest, the Commission has identified regulations that need to be updated to provide for alternative registration and license application processes. To this end, the Commission is proposing to amend §§ 135.103 and 143.42 to require that registrations for controlled goose hunting areas and antlerless licenses be submitted on a form and in the manner designated by the Commission. These proposed amendments will allow the Commission and public greater access to electronic sources and methods of application. The Commission is also proposing to amend §§ 135.103 and 135.104 to update the parameters for establishing and managing the controlled hunts at the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas. These proposed amendments allow for greater flexibility, consistency and clarity in the regulations.

 Section 721(a) of the code (relating to control of property) provides ''[t]he administration of all lands or waters owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the commission shall be under the sole control of the director, and the commission shall promulgate regulations. . .for its use and protection as necessary to properly manage these lands or waters.'' Section 2722(g) of the code (relating to authorized license-issuing agents) directs the Commission to adopt regulations for the administration, control and performance of license issuing activities. The amendments to §§ 135.103, 135.104 and 143.42 are proposed under this authority.

2. Regulatory Requirements

 This proposed rulemaking will amend §§ 135.103 and 143.42 to require that registrations for controlled goose hunting areas and antlerless licenses be submitted on a form and in the manner designated by the Commission. The proposed rulemaking will amend §§ 135.103 and 135.104 to update the parameters for establishing and managing the controlled hunts at the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas.

3. Persons Affected

 Persons wishing to hunt or take geese at the controlled goose hunting areas within the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas will be affected by this proposed rulemaking. Persons wishing to hunt or take antlerless deer in this Commonwealth may also be affected by this proposed rulemaking.

4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements

 The proposed rulemaking should result in a reduction in cost and paperwork.

5. Effective Date

 This proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.

6. Contact Person

 For further information regarding this proposed rulemaking, contact Thomas P. Grohol, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.

BRYAN J. BURHANS, 
Executive Director

Fiscal Note: 48-416. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 58. RECREATION

PART III. GAME COMMISSION

CHAPTER 135. LANDS AND BUILDINGS

Subchapter F. SPECIAL WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS

§ 135.103. Registration for controlled goose hunting areas.

 The following apply to reservations for controlled goose hunting areas:

[(1) Applications are available in, and shall be submitted from, the current edition of Digest of Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Regulations supplied with each hunting license.

(2) Reservation requests on official application forms shall be submitted by mail. An application shall contain requested information, including the applicant's current valid hunting license back tag number, including letter.

(i) Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. Applications shall be received by the close of business on the second Tuesday in September. Applications received later than the close of business on the second Tuesday in September will be rejected.

(ii) Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area. Applications shall be received by the close of business on the second Saturday in September. Applications received later than the close of business on the second Saturday of September will be rejected.

(3) One official application per person to hunt on one controlled goose hunting area in this Commonwealth may be submitted. Anyone submitting more than one application for a reservation will have all applications rejected.

(4) Selections of mailed application forms will be made by random drawing from all eligible applications submitted. The Director will establish, no later than 20 days prior to the drawing, the number of applications to be drawn.

(i) Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. The drawing will be held on the second Wednesday in September and shall be open to the public.

(ii) Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area. The drawing will be held on the third Saturday in September and shall be open to the public.

(iii) Disabled access blinds.

(A) A separate drawing shall also be held for the disabled access blinds for persons in possession of a disabled person permit issued under section 2923(a) of the act (relating to disabled person permits). A copy of the current disabled person permit shall accompany the application.

(B) Other provisions of this section apply to disabled access blinds.]

(1) Applications shall be submitted on a form and in the manner designated by the Commission. Applications must include the applicant's name, address, date of birth and Commission-issued Customer Identification Number, and any other information required by the Commission.

(2) Applications for controlled goose hunting areas in the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area or the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area shall be submitted to the Commission by the deadline set by the Director or a designee.

(3) An individual may submit no more than one official application per year to hunt on a controlled hunting area in this Commonwealth. Incomplete, illegible or duplicate applications will not be included in the drawing.

(4) The Director will establish the number of applications to be drawn no later than 20 days prior to the respective drawing of reservations for the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas. Reservations will be awarded by the Commission to individuals selected during random public drawings from all eligible applications submitted for each management area. The drawings for each management area will occur on the date, time and at the location set by the Director or a designee. The Commission will hold separate drawings for the disabled access blinds for persons in possession of a disabled person permit issued under section 2923(a) of the act (relating to disabled person permits).

[(iv)] (i) Youth only day. The Director may designate 1 shooting day at the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas as a youth-only day. Adults who accompany a junior hunter on this day may participate in the hunt by calling only. Applications received from junior hunters will be separated and drawn prior to the other applications on the established drawing date for the management area. Unsuccessful applicants for the youth shooting day will then be placed with all other applications and the drawing will proceed until all shooting days are filled.

[(v)] (ii) Veterans with disabilities only day. The Director may designate 1 shooting day at the Middle Creek and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Areas as a veterans with disabilities only day. Only persons who possess a resident disabled veteran license or a reduced fee resident disabled veteran license are eligible to apply. Successful applicants may be accompanied by up to three properly licensed guests of any general or base hunting license classification. Applications received from veterans with disabilities will be separated and drawn prior to all other applications on the established drawing date for each wildlife management area.

*  *  *  *  *

§ 135.104. Restrictions on controlled goose hunting areas.

 It is unlawful to:

 (1) Take wildlife other than ducks [and], geese, coots and mergansers, except by permit issued by the Director or a designee.

 (2) Remove [geese and] ducks, geese, coots and mergansers from a blind prior to vacating the blind to check out.

 (3) Remain in a blind when the maximum limit of geese has been killed or the [ten-round] ammunition limit has been expended, or after the time specified on the permit has expired.

*  *  *  *  *

CHAPTER 143. HUNTING AND FURTAKER LICENSES

Subchapter C. ANTLERLESS DEER LICENSES

§ 143.42. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

Application—The original PALS form issued with a regular hunting license or the original or reasonable facsimile of the universal form [contained in the ''Hunting and Trapping Digest''] provided by the Commission that is used in applying for an antlerless license or an unsold tag.

*  *  *  *  *

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-813. Filed for public inspection May 12, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]



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