Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 12

has preliminarily approved, an interim
measure that reduces the species-specific
daily bag limit for mallards in the Atlantic
Flyway beginning in the 2019-20 hunting
season. The bag limit would be reduced
from four mallards (no more than two hens)
to two mallards (no more than one hen).
Mallards are the only duck for which
there is a sex-specific bag limit, Gregg
pointed out.
"Managers strongly considered removing the hen limit - making it just two mallards - because there isn't a lot of evidence
that a hen-limit has biological benefit, and
hunters are evenly split between liking and
disliking it," Gregg said.
But the one-hen limit was approved,
given the uncertainty of what is causing
decline and public support for promoting
female survival to sustain populations,
Gregg said.
The best available analysis suggests
a bag limit drop from four mallards to
two will reduce the mallard harvest by
about 25 percent, a reduction that should
stabilize declining populations until
research can shed further light on what's
troubling the species, Gregg noted.
"While we cannot guarantee a population upswing from the reduced bag limit,
we believe the timing is right, that waiting
is no longer an option," Gregg said. "We
believe we can sort out what's troubling
mallards. But we need time."
Atlantic Flyway managers also are
committed to developing an Eastern
Mallard Harvest Strategy to help establish long-term mallard bag limits and
season lengths, while maximizing hunter
opportunity and maintaining sustainable
mallard populations. Its development will
be influenced by hunter responses to last
November's Atlantic Flyway Mallard
Survey, which sought hunter preferences
to the trade-offs between hunting oppor12

tunity for mallards and the number of
mallards seen while hunting, as well as
background on participating waterfowl
hunters, ranging from years of duckhunting experience to number of days
spent duck hunting annually.
"One of the first things rookie waterfowl biologists are taught is that 'days
kill ducks' - that is, harvest tends to be
affected much more by season length
than by daily bag limit," Gregg explained.
But waterfowl hunters don't want
to lose hunting days," noted Jeremy
Stempka, agency waterfowl biologist.
"In both state and national surveys,
hunters consistently indicate that available time is an important barrier to their
hunting activity and they prefer longer
seasons with lower bag limits over shorter
seasons with higher bag limits, if both
options provide equal species conservation," Stempka explained.

FORTUNATE FOWL
Mallards historically were rare breeders in Pennsylvania, but were commonly
seen in large flocks around Lake Erie
and along the Susquehanna River during
spring and fall migrations, according to
B.H. Warren's 1890 Birds of Pennsylvania.
Mallards took off as Pennsylvania
breeding birds in the mid-1900s as they
expanded their range east from the prairies, Gregg said. They also apparently
gained footing in the state as a breeding
duck through the release of captivereared mallards, largely from the Game
Commission's Waterfowl Farm, which
operated at Crawford County's Conneaut
Lake from 1951 to 1982. One Game
Commission record reported more than
212,000 mallards were raised on the farm
and released by the agency, Gregg added.
Mallards became a substantial part of



Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 30
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Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2019 - Cover4
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