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PA Turkey Hunters Advised of Season Changes

October 30, 2013

HARRISBURG, PA - Turkey hunters preparing to head afield during Pennsylvania's annual fall season are urged to review the opening and closing dates that apply within the Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) they hunt.

The fall season has been lengthened by a week in some WMUs, and shortened by a week in others. Additionally, a WMU might have a later opening date, a weeklong or shorter season, or could be closed to fall turkey hunting altogether.

"Different sets of rules apply to different areas, and in a lot of areas, season lengths have changed this year," said Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. "Now is the time for hunters to check and make sure the season lengths in areas they hunt haven't changed."

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In most of PA, the fall turkey season opens November 2.

In most of the state, the fall turkey season opens November 2. There are exceptions, however.

In WMU 5A, a three-day season begins Nov. 5. Meanwhile, WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D remain closed to fall turkey hunting.

The fall turkey season dates are outlined on page 35 of the 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest that is issued at the time hunters by their licenses. Those seasons are as follows: WMU 1B Nov. 2 to 9, and Nov. 28 to 30; WMU 2B (shotgun and archery only) Nov. 2 to 22, and Nov. 28 to 30; WMUs 1A, 2A, 2D, 2F, 2G and 2H Nov. 2 to 16, and Nov. 28 to 30; WMUs 2C, 2E, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E Nov. 2 to 22, and Nov. 28 to 30; and WMU 5A Nov. 5 to 7.

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In all, the season length is changing in nine WMUs this year.

The changes in eight of those WMUs are due to an ongoing study to determine how the length of the fall season affects the female turkey harvest. The Game Commission in the past two years has monitored two separate study areas, and with that data now collected, the study requires the season length in both study areas be changed.

In WMUs 2F, 2G and 2H, that means shortening the season from three weeks to two weeks. Meanwhile, the season will be lengthened from two weeks to three weeks in WMUs 2C, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D.

Game Commission wild turkey biologist Mary Jo Casalena explained the changes.

"By switching season lengths between study areas, we can attempt to answer the question of whether the harvest gained by adding an extra week to a two-week season exceeds a sustainable level of harvest," Casalena said. "Ultimately, results from this study will allow us to provide the longest fall seasons without overharvesting hen wild turkeys."

This season marks the third year of the four-year study, and hunters can expect season length within the study areas this year to remain the same during the study's final year in 2014.

Aside from the changes within study areas, the fall turkey season also is being shortened from two weeks to one week in WMU 1B due to a precipitous decline in the turkey population locally. The three-day Thanksgiving season remains in place there, as it does in most other parts of the state.



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