Game Commission sets new rules for migratory bird hunters

Pennsylvania’s early migratory bird seasons have been approved, and changes this year will increase the number of birds hunters can keep in their possession.

The early seasons for mourning doves, Canada geese, woodcock and other migratory bird species break down similarly to last year.

The biggest difference is in regard to possession limits. A change in federal regulations has allowed Pennsylvania this year to increase possession limits for most migratory game birds from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit.

Those changes are taking place across the board in the early seasons.

The calendar has had an influence on the opening days for some seasons.

Dove hunters will be able to take to the field Monday, Sept. 2, in the first segment of a triple-split season. The first segment ends on Saturday, Sept. 28, and daily hunting hours during the first segment are from noon to sunset.

Other dove-hunting segments run from Oct. 26 to Nov. 30 and from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, with hunting hours during those segments set at one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

The daily bag limit in each dove-hunting segment has been set at 15, with a possession limit of 45.

The September statewide season for resident Canada geese also will open Sept. 2, and continue through Sept. 25. The September season retains a daily bag limit of eight Canada geese, but the possession limit has climbed to 24.

Shooting hours during the September goose season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, except for on Sept. 14 and Sept. 21, when the season overlaps with youth waterfowl hunting days.

On those days, shooting hours will end at sunset.

There are special regulations including smaller bag limits and possession limits in a couple of areas of the state.

In most of the Southern James Bay Population Goose Zone, and on the Pymatuning Reservoir and the area extending 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of state Route 3011 (Hartstown Road), hunters will have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of nine.