Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 64

A

S A TRAPPER for nearly 50 years, sometimes I find
myself reminiscing about the past. Occasionally, I've even
referred to trapping in the '60s and '70s as the "good ol' days."
Looking back, however, never in my wildest dreams would I
have imagined that someday I would be able to trap coyotes, a
bobcat and a fisher all in the same license year.
Due in large part to the extraordinary vision of the Game
Commission, sound wildlife management, changing habitat, and
natural migration, the good ol' days for Pennsylvania trappers are now.
Take coyotes for instance. As a high school and college trapper during the '70s,
I have no recollection of other trappers or hunters talking about coyotes. Now,
they're in all 67 counties of the state and, love them or not, they're here to stay.
Furtakers are finding them to be even more challenging to trap than their
smaller red and gray cousins. Frequently tipping the scales at 40 to 50 pounds,
it takes beefed-up equipment to securely hold a coyote. But that's part of the
learning curve that trappers are facing. Coyote trapping has become a new and
exciting challenge.
Much the same can be said about bobcats. Hunting and trapping for
this reclusive feline remained unregulated until 1970 when the season was
closed. Thirty years later in 2000, the Game Commission established a highly
conservative season and used limited numbers of permits to regulate the harvest
through hunting and trapping.
Its game management model worked. In the 2000-01 season, 290 permits
were issued, and 58 bobcats were taken. Ten years later in the 2010-11 season,
nearly 16,000 sportsmen purchased a permit good in 12 wildlife management
units (WMUs). Successful hunters and trappers reported taking 1,136 bobcats
(78 percent by trappers). The season has now been expanded to 14 WMUs.
As recent as a decade ago, many Pennsylvania sportsmen and sportswomen
didn't even know what a fisher was, let alone how to trap one. Today's fisher
population is the result of reintroduction efforts and natural dispersal from
neighboring states. From 1994 to 1998, 190 fishers were released throughout
northern Pennsylvania. Since then, their numbers and range have expanded
dramatically. During 2010, limited fisher trapping was established in four WMUs.
A total of 2,886 trappers purchased a fisher permit, which yielded a harvest of
152 fishers. This year, the six-day fisher season has been expanded to 10 WMUs.
For Pennsylvania trappers, the opportunity to harvest coyotes, bobcats and
fishers has added entirely new dimensions to their sport. And, as unlikely as it
may seem, the mix of furbearers available today promises to make the good ol'
days of yesteryear pale in comparison.
Gregg Rinkus
64

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 4
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - A
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - B
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2014 - Cover3
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