[58 PA. CODE CHS. 141 AND 147]
Hunting and Trapping; Special Permits
[44 Pa.B. 1438]
[Saturday, March 15, 2014]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) proposed at its January 28, 2014, meeting to amend § 141.1 (relating to special regulations areas) and add §§ 147.681—147.687 (relating to deer attractant permit) to create and implement a deer attractant permit to authorize limited baiting activities on private property in the southeast special regulations area.
The proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for the proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
The proposed rulemaking was made public at the January 28, 2014, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until April 4, 2014, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
1. Purpose and Authority
On March 31, 2010, the Commission's 3-year evaluation of the effectiveness of a broad scale and widely accessible authorization permitting the baiting of white-tailed deer across the southeast special regulations areas expired. The Commission's final review of the baiting authorization generally concluded that broad scale and widely accessible baiting did not establish viable increases in harvest rates to justify an extension of the experimental program. On February 1, 2011, the Commission amended §§ 147.552 and 147.556 (relating to application; and lawful devices and methods) to create a focused, limited authorization permitting the baiting of white-tailed deer in wildlife management units (WMU) 5C and 5D on approved properties enrolled in the ''Red Tag'' program. See 41 Pa.B. 1767 (April 2, 2011). The Commission is proposing to amend § 141.1 and add §§ 147.681—147.687 to create and implement a deer attractant permit to authorize limited baiting activities on private property in the southeast special regulations area.
Section 2102(a) of the code (relating to regulations) provides that ''The commission shall promulgate such regulations as it deems necessary and appropriate concerning game or wildlife and hunting or furtaking in this Commonwealth, including regulations relating to the protection, preservation and management of game or wildlife and game or wildlife habitat, permitting or prohibiting hunting or furtaking, the ways, manner, methods and means of hunting or furtaking, and the health and safety of persons who hunt or take wildlife or may be in the vicinity of persons who hunt or take game or wildlife in this Commonwealth.'' Sections 147.681—147.687 and the amendments to § 141.1 are proposed under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
The proposed rulemaking will amend § 141.1 and add §§ 147.681—147.687 to create and implement a deer attractant permit to authorize limited baiting activities on private property in the southeast special regulations area.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to hunt or take game wildlife in the southeast special regulations area may be affected by the proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
The proposed rulemaking may result in some additional cost and paperwork associated with the creation and implementation of this new permit in the Commission's existing permitting system. However, the Commission has determined that if there is additional expense associated with this effort, it will not be substantial and would be absorbed by the current budget.
5. Effective Date
The 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 the proposed rulemaking, contact Richard R. Palmer, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
R. MATTHEW HOUGH,
Fiscal Note: 48-365. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 141. HUNTING AND TRAPPING
Subchapter A. GENERAL
§ 141.1. Special regulations areas.
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(2) It is unlawful to use buckshot in Allegheny or Philadelphia Counties without specific authorization of the Director.
(3) It is unlawful to, except for normal or accepted farming, habitat management practices, oil and gas drilling, mining, forest management activities, or other legitimate commercial or industrial practices, intentionally lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt or other minerals anywhere in the southeast special regulations area for the purpose of feeding white-tailed deer, or to intentionally lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt or other minerals that may cause white-tailed deer to congregate or habituate an area. If otherwise lawful feeding is attracting white-tailed deer, the Commission may provide written notice prohibiting this activity.
(d) Permitted acts. It is lawful to:
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(6) Hunt or take deer during any deer season through the use of or by taking advantage of bait on private property currently operating under a valid deer control permit where approval for limited baiting activities has previously been obtained under § 147.552 (relating to application). This limited authorization is valid only to the extent that persons comply with the standards and conditions in § 147.556 (relating to lawful devices and methods).
(7) Hunt or take deer in the southeast special regulations area during regular open hunting seasons for white-tailed deer through the use of or by taking advantage of bait on private property only under a deer attractant permit issued under Chapter 147, Subchapter R (relating to deer control).
CHAPTER 147. SPECIAL PERMITS
Subchapter R. DEER CONTROL
DEER ATTRACTANT PERMIT
(Editor's Note: Sections 147.681—147.687 are new and printed in regular type to enhance readability.)
§ 147.681. Purpose.
The purpose of §§ 147.682—147.687 is to authorize eligible persons to hunt through the use of or otherwise take advantage of approved bait to enhance the harvest rate of white-tailed deer on private property within the southeast special regulations area where traditional hunting and deer control methods have proven ineffective in controlling local deer populations.
§ 147.682. Permit eligibility and use.
(a) Application. Deer attractant permits may be issued to landowners or their agents who have suffered material damage to their real property in the southeast special regulations area by white-tailed deer. Permits will be made available through a system established by the Director.
(b) Hunting. Deer attractant permits may be utilized by landowners or persons they permit to hunt on their property, or both, who:
(1) Possess a valid hunting license or qualify for applicable license and fee exemptions under section 2706 of the act (relating to resident license and fee exemptions) for the geographical area including the proposed bait site.
(2) Have no prior record of violations of the act or this title, or related license revocations within the 5 years preceding the date of application.
§ 147.683. Operation.
A deer attractant permit issued under this subchapter authorizes landowners or persons they permit to hunt on their property, or both, to hunt through the use of or otherwise take advantage of approved bait for the purpose of enhancing the harvest rate of white-tailed deer. This authorization is subject to the following conditions:
(1) This authorization only applies during regular open hunting seasons for white-tailed deer in the affected portion of each wildlife management unit located within the southeast special regulations area.
(2) A proposed bait site may not be located less than 250 yards from any previously established bait site authorized under this subchapter.
(3) Approved bait may be distributed at each bait site by approved feeders from 2 weeks prior to the opening of the first white-tailed deer season through the close of the last white-tailed deer season within the applicable wildlife management unit.
(4) Approved feeders are limited to sealed, waterproof, automatic, mechanical feeders that are set to distribute bait up to a maximum of three times per day during legal hunting hours only. The feeder must be visibly tagged or labeled with the landowner's permit number or the full name and address of the landowner.
(5) Bait accumulation at any one bait site may not exceed 5 gallons total volume at any given time.
(6) Approved bait is limited to shelled corn and protein pellet supplements.
(7) A person engaging in privileges authorized by a deer attractant permit shall possess a copy of the permit on their person at all times while exercising the permit privileges and while maintaining the bait site and shall produce the permit upon demand of an officer whose duty it is to enforce this title.
(8) It is the sole responsibility of the landowner or his agent and persons they permit to hunt on their property to ensure that the area bait site is in compliance with this section prior to hunting in that area.
(9) The landowner and persons they permit to hunt on their property may not, under any circumstances, hunt, take, kill or harvest any game or wildlife other than white-tailed deer at the bait site or coming to and from the bait site. Persons not authorized by the landowner to hunt on their property may not, under any circumstances, hunt, take, kill or harvest any game or wildlife at the bait site or coming to and from the bait site.
§ 147.684. Records and reports.
(a) A report of deer harvested at or near a bait station shall be submitted by the hunter in accordance with the requirements of section 2323 of the act (relating to tagging and reporting big game kills).
(b) An annual report of deer harvested under the authority of the permit shall be submitted by the landowner or his agent in the manner specified by the Commission within 30 days of the close of the last open season within the applicable wildlife management unit.
(c) Failure to submit a timely and complete annual report required under this section will automatically render the permittee ineligible to reapply for the permit for the subsequent permit year.
§ 147.685. Suspension of baiting sites.
(a) The Commission may suspend the operation of any bait site if one or more of the following is determined: (i) The baiting activity is causing conflict with other lawful hunting. (2) The baiting activity is causing public safety hazards. (3) The operation of the baiting site is not in compliance with the requirements of §§ 147.682—147.684 (relating to permit eligibility and use; operation; records and reports). (4) The operation if the baiting site is detrimental to the health and welfare of any wildlife, including white-tailed deer.
(b) The Commission may suspend the operation of bait sites authorized under this subchapter upon the detection of Chronic Wasting Disease within the southeast special regulations area. This suspension may remain indefinitely until the Commission determines that resumption of baiting activities will not create an unreasonable future risk of spreading of the disease on the landscape.
§ 147.686. Violations.
Violations of this subchapter will be prosecuted under section 2308 of the act (relating to unlawful devices and methods). Furthermore, the Director may deny, revoke or suspend a permit for violation requirements, standards or limitations of this subchapter upon written notice to the permittee.
§ 147.687. Sunset clause.
Sections 147.681—147.686 and this section become effective July 1, 2014, and expire and are rendered void on June 30, 2017, unless the Commission further authorizes their legal effectiveness prior to this termination date.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-519. Filed for public inspection March 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]
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