RULES AND REGULATIONS
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 141 ]
Hunting and Trapping; Furbearers
[50 Pa.B. 2268]
[Saturday, May 2, 2020]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) at its April 7, 2020, meeting amended § 141.62 (relating to beaver and otter trapping) to increase the number of authorized body-gripping traps from 10 to 20 in any Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) where beaver bag limits are 60 per season.
This final-form rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this final-form rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 50 Pa.B. 1384 (March 7, 2020).
1. Purpose and Authority
The Commission has recently observed a notable increase in beaver populations and beaver-related complaints in WMUs 1A and 1B. As a result, the Commission is seeking to increase harvest success rates in these WMUs in an effort to better control the beaver population and resulting beaver-human conflicts. The Commission has previously adopted an amendment to § 139.4 (relating to seasons and bag limits for the license year) to increase the beaver bag limit in these WMUs from 40 to 60. The Commission also amended § 141.62 to increase the number of authorized body-gripping traps to 20 in any WMU where beaver bag limits are 60 per season. Beaver trappers will still be limited to using no more than five traps or snares, no more than two of which may be body-gripping traps, in any WMU with an open otter trapping season during periods when the open beaver trapping season overlaps by calendar date with the open otter trapping season.
Section 2102(d) of the code (relating to regulations) authorizes the Commission to ''promulgate regulations stipulating the size and type of traps, the type of firearms and ammunition and other devices which may be used, the manner in which and the location where the devices may be used, the species the devices may be used for and the season when the devices may be used.'' The amendments to § 141.62 are adopted under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This final-form rulemaking amends § 141.62 to increase the number of authorized body-gripping traps from 10 to 20 in any WMU where beaver bag limits are 60 per season.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to trap or take beavers in any WMU where beaver bag limits are 60 per season may be affected by this final-form rulemaking.
4. Comment and Response Summary
The Commission received only one comment regarding this final-form rulemaking. The comment generally supported allowing use of the number of body-gripping traps equal to daily harvest for beaver, but was not specific to the WMUs that the Commission is targeting.
5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This final-form rulemaking should not result in any additional cost or paperwork.
6. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
7. Contact Person
For further information regarding this final-form rulemaking, contact Jason L. DeCoskey, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
The Commission finds that:
(1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2 (relating to notice of proposed rulemaking; and adoption of regulations).
(2) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.
The Commission, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 141, are amended by amending § 141.62 to read as set forth in Annex A.
(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-447 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 141. HUNTING AND TRAPPING
Subchapter D. FURBEARERS
§ 141.62. Beaver and otter trapping.
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(b) Unlawful acts. It is unlawful to:
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(3) Set body-gripping traps larger than 10 inches in height by 12 inches in width.
(4) Set, tend or operate any number of traps or snares for beaver trapping in excess of the limits established by this paragraph.
(i) Beaver trappers are generally limited to a combined Statewide total of 20 traps or snares, no more than 10 of which may be traps. No more than 2 of the 10 traps may be body-gripping traps, except:
(A) In Wildlife Management Units where beaver bag limits are 40 per season, all 10 traps may be body-gripping traps.
(B) In Wildlife Management Units where beaver bag limits are 60 per season, all 20 traps or snares may be body-gripping traps.
(ii) Beaver trappers are limited to using no more than five traps or snares, no more than two of which may be body-gripping traps, in any Wildlife Management Unit with an open otter trapping season. This limitation is inclusive of any otter traps or snares set under paragraph (7). This limitation is applicable during periods when the open beaver trapping season overlaps by calendar date with the open otter trapping season and shall extend for 5 additional consecutive days after the close of the otter season.
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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-596. Filed for public inspection May 1, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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