[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 141 ]
Hunting and Trapping; Small Game
[50 Pa.B. 1379]
[Saturday, March 7, 2020]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) proposed at its January 25, 2020, meeting to amend § 141.29 (relating to hunting mourning doves over managed fields) to eliminate the September 15 cutoff date for the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed.
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 January 25, 2020, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until April 1, 2020, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
1. Purpose and Authority
It is currently unlawful to hunt mourning doves on or over lands or areas where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed after September 15 each license year. This restriction was intended to minimize baiting conflicts for hunters pursuing species other than doves, which remains unlawful to hunt in lands or areas affected by such manipulation. For example, hunting waterfowl over a manipulated crop field remains prohibited by both State and Federal law notwithstanding the authorization for the hunting of mourning doves. However, the Commission has also observed that the September 15 cutoff date disallows a significant degree of flexibility for weather and planting related delays in the maturation and proper drying of the vegetation planting in the crop fields. This has resulted in instances of lost hunting opportunities and wasted investments in these areas prepared and intended for mourning dove hunting. The Commission is proposing to amend § 141.29 to eliminate the September 15 cutoff date for the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed.
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.'' The amendments to § 141.29 are proposed under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This proposed rulemaking will amend § 141.29 to eliminate the September 15 cutoff date for the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to hunt or take mourning dove or other game or wildlife in the vicinity of a managed dove field may be affected by this proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This proposed rulemaking should not result in any additional cost or 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 Jason L. DeCoskey, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: 48-449. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 141. HUNTING AND TRAPPING
Subchapter B. SMALL GAME
§ 141.29. Hunting mourning doves over managed fields.
(a) Limited hunting authorized. In accordance with the authorization in 50 CFR 20.21 (relating to what hunting methods are illegal), it is lawful to hunt mourning doves on or over lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas, and where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown, or solely as the result of a normal agricultural operation. [This authorization does not apply to any other species of wildlife or to the hunting of mourning doves where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed after September 15 each license year.]
(b) Nonapplication. This section shall not be construed to authorize the hunting of any other species of wildlife in an area where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed.
(c) Definition. For the purposes of this section, ''manipulation'' means the alteration of natural vegetation or agricultural crops by activities that include mowing, shredding, discing, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning or herbicide treatments. The term manipulation does not include the distributing or scattering of grain, seed or other feed after removal from or storage on the field where grown.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-325. Filed for public inspection March 6, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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