Annual Report 2007-2008 - 7

ciency of cable restraints for red and gray foxes has been high, but efficiency for coyotes has been marginal. Cable restraint regulations were refined during this fiscal year to increase device efficiency for coyotes. A fisher management plan was developed during this fiscal year. The plan provides supporting objectives and strategies to achieve goals related to population monitoring and enhancement, habitat assessment, and development and implementation of a harvest program. Implementation of this plan will be initiated in the next fiscal year. A decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in December 2007 vested responsibility for feral swine (wild boar) with the Game Commission, and as a consequence, feral swine can be taken only as authorized by the Game Code and its regulations. The Commission suddenly was tasked with developing regulations for the management of feral swine. Feral swine are not native to Pennsylvania. They are known to cause tremendous damage to habitat and property and pose an ever-present threat to wildlife and the biosecurity of the state’s multi-million-dollar pork industry. The Commission determined that the complete eradication of feral swine from the wild within Pennsylvania is necessary to prevent further harm to its natural resources, agricultural industry, forest products industry and to human health/safety interests. The PGC executive director, following extensive discussions with PDA, the Feral Swine Task Force and the Governor’s Invasive Species Council, in May 2008 issued an executive order removing protection on feral swine in 64 of the state’s 67 counties. The only exceptions (Butler, Bedford and Cambria counties) were counties with official eradication trapping operations underway. Additionally, the executive order authorized licensed hunters to participate in the unlimited incidental taking of feral swine during big game hunting seasons. The order specified that feral swine trapping, by permitted individuals, will be allowed only from the close of the flintlock muzzleloading season in mid-January to the beginning of spring gobbler season, and from the end of spring gobbler season until the beginning of archery deer season. Any person taking feral swine must report it within 24 hours to the Game Commission region office that serves the county where the animal was taken. Eleven feral swine from four counties (Bedford, Columbia, Indiana and Wyoming) were trapped, euthanized and tested in FY 2007-08. All tested negative for diseases. As FY ’07 closed, the first year of plan implementation for the updated wild turkey management plan had been successful with 29 of the 47 strategies in progress. Four hunting season changes were implemented for the 2007-08 year that affected turkey hunting opportunity. Legal hunting hours for all small and big game (except migratory game birds) were extended from sunset to one-half hour after sunset, although the noon closure for spring turkey season was retained. Fall hunters are now permitted to pursue turkeys with dogs, joining 22 other states. Game Commission Board of Commissioners discontinued spring season fluorescent orange requirements, but the agency still recommends voluntary usage of fluorescent orange when moving through the spring woods. Finally, the spring season was extended to include the Memorial Day holiday. In 2007-08 Pennsylvania hunters realized respectable turkey harvests, as turkeys continued to be the second most popular game species. Turkey population indices show the statewide population continuing to increase from the drop in 2005, with the 2008 spring population estimated at approximately 335,000, which is slightly higher than the 10year average. There were 223,808 hunters for the spring 2007 season, which is slightly below the 10-year average of 232,014. Statewide hunter success was 16 percent and similar to the previous 10-year average. Spring hunter success has been as high as 21 JANUARY 2009 7

Annual Report 2007-2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Annual Report 2007-2008

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