Last updated: June 08. 2013 12:46PM - 1677 Views
By - tvenesky@civitasmedia.com

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Family fishing in Wilkes-Barre

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will host a Family Fishing Program at the Wilkes-Barre River Common’s Fishing Pier on the following dates:

Wednesday, June 26

Wednesday, July 31

Wednesday, Aug. 21

The programs will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each night. They are being offered in partnership with the Riverfront Parks Committee (www.riverfrontparks.org) and the Luzerne County Keystone Active Zone (KAZ) Passport program (www.kazpassport.org). The events are free, open to the public and a fishing license will not be required.

“The program is designed for families with children ages eight and older with little or no fishing experience,” said Walt Dietz, PFBC Regional Outreach and Education Coordinator. “Families will learn about safety, fishing tackle, regulations and basic techniques like casting and knot tying. Participants will also be given the opportunity to fish together as a family.”

Equipment and bait will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring a chair and drinking water. Meet at the River Common fishing pier located along the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre. A map and directions are available at the Riverfront Parks Committee website at: www.riverfrontparks.org.

Registration is required and available online by visiting the Family Fishing Program schedule at: http://www.fishandboat.com/calendar.htm.

Hunting and furtaker licenses on sale tomorrow

Hunting and trapping licenses for 2013-14 go on sale June 10.

All license fees remain unchanged since 1999. Licenses can be purchased online through the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS) website, https://www.pa.wildlifelicense.com.

Licenses also can be purchased over the counter at all Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters, as well as through more than 600 in-state and out-of-state issuing agents.

A list of issuing agents is available at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.

The 2013-14 hunting and furtaker licenses are effective July 1, when the licenses that now are valid expire.

They will take effect on July 1.

On the lookout for bats

Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists are seeking assistance from residents in a regional monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer. This monitoring is especially important to measure bat mortalities caused by White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that affects hibernating bats in Pennsylvania and other parts of the eastern United States.

“WNS primarily kills during the winter, but the true impact of WNS on bat populations cannot be determined using estimates from winter hibernacula alone,” said Nate Zalik, Game Commission wildlife biologist. “Pennsylvanians can help us more fully gauge the impact of WNS on bats by hosting a bat count this summer. We are especially urging people who have ever conducted a bat count for the Game Commission in the past to redo a count this year.”

To obtain applications and information on how to participate, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and put your cursor over “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, click on “Wildlife” in the drop-down menu, scroll down and choose “Pennsylvania Bats” in the Wild Mammals section, and then click on “Appalachian Bat Count.” Forms on the website guide interested participants through the steps of timing, conducting a survey and submitting their findings to the Game Commission. Scout groups, 4-H clubs, local environmental organizations, and individual homeowners can all participate in this important effort.

“Pennsylvania’s two most common bat species, the little brown bat and the big brown bat, use buildings as their summer roosts,” Zalik said. “Abandoned houses, barns, church steeples – and even currently-occupied structures – can provide a summer home to female bats and their young.

“Monitoring these ‘maternity colonies’ can give biologists a good idea of how bat populations in an area are doing from year to year. With the occurrence of WNS in Pennsylvania, monitoring these colonies is more important than ever.”

Zalik noted that the fieldwork isn’t difficult to do, and Pennsylvanians can play a huge role in helping the Game Commission get a better understanding of what is happening to bats this summer.

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