Public meeting on local fishing, boating issues set
Rep. Gerald Mullery will host a meeting to discuss local fishing and boating issues from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at the Luzerne County Community College educational conference center, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke.
The Luzerne County Recreational Facilities Advisory Board will provide updates about Moon Lake. Jack Breita, a member of the Nanticoke Conservation Club and volunteer instructor with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, will talk about local lakes. Norman Gavlick, who represents Northeastern Pennsylvania as member of the Fish and Boat Commission, will talk about bass fishing on the Susquehanna River.
Other representatives of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will be on hand. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Mullery, D-Newport Township, is a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee.
Buy a fishing button
As announced in January, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is re-introducing the availability of a Pennsylvania fishing license button. Brought back by popular demand, this alternate display annual license button is similar to the buttons offered by the PFBC in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and in 1974 and 1975.
Anglers will be able to purchase a $5 button starting March 12 through the PFBC’s Outdoor Shop (www.GoneFishingPa.com) and at the region ofice in Sweet Valley.
License buttons can also be ordered using a mail-in form posted on the PFBC’s website, fishandboat.com/licapp.htm. Delivery of all buttons purchased will occur within three weeks of when they are ordered. The three-week delivery time provides adequate time for the buttons to be personalized with the individual license buyer’s customer identification number.
The annual buttons will be available to all current, adult and youth Pennsylvania fishing license customers who possess a valid Pennsylvania fishing license that enables them to fish for the entire year. Lifetime senior license and multi-year license holders can also purchase the buttons. For all eligible customers, the buttons are not required by law and are an optional purchase.
The purchase of a traditional (paper) Pennsylvania fishing license is a requirement in order to purchase the optional license button. As a result of a recent regulation change, as long as an angler is carrying their valid paper license, a valid alternate display annual license button is the only display requirement while fishing.
For more information about the alternate display annual license buttons, visit www.fishandboat.com/faq-lic-button.pdf.
PGC schedules meeting
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has scheduled a public, working group meeting to be held Monday, March 17 at the Game Commission’s headquarters in Harrisburg.
The meeting is slated to begin at 8 a.m. and also will be streamed live on the agency’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Working group meetings allow for an exchange between the Board of Game Commissioners and Game Commission staff ahead of the regular quarterly meetings. While the meetings are open to the public, public comments are not accepted.
Those attending, however, are permitted to submit questions in writing to the board.
The Game Commission’s headquarters is at 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81.
The Board of Game Commissioners’ next quarterly meeting is scheduled to be held April 7-8 at the Harrisburg headquarters. Meetings on both days are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
Mentored fishing coming up
After a highly successful first run last year, the PFBC’s popular Mentored Youth Fishing Days program returns this spring to kick off the 2014 season. The first day will be held on 12 waters on March 22 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is the Saturday before the March 29 regional opening day of trout season.
To participate in the program, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or a voluntary youth fishing license. Both are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
Follow these tips if you are obtaining a free youth permit or voluntary youth license online through The Outdoor Shop:
The youth permit or license cannot be obtained under the mentor’s customer account.
Individuals must create a new customer account for the participating child or young adult. This will assign a new customer identification number (CID) to the individual.
Or, if an individual has previously participated in the Game Commission’s Mentored Youth Hunting programs, a youth fishing permit or license can be obtained by signing in using the youth’s existing CID.
The second Mentored Youth Fishing Day will be held on 29 waters on April 5 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is the Saturday before the April 12 traditional opening day of trout season.
Buy a bluebird box
In a winter like this one, it might seem spring will never come.
But it’s guaranteed to get here. And now is the perfect time to start “thinking spring” by making plans to connect with wildlife in your own backyard when temperatures warm.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission again is selling bluebird nesting boxes. The boxes sell for $10.60 (includes sales tax), and customers can select from assembled boxes or kits that can be assembled as a wood-working project.
“Bluebirds are early nesters, so now is the time to put up new nest boxes, as well as to clean and repair existing boxes,” said Dan Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Division chief. “These bluebird boxes enable Pennsylvanians to help wildlife in a natural way.
“Also, building nesting boxes is a great project for individuals, families or civic organizations interested in connecting with wildlife. These box designs are proven to attract bluebirds and other native species, such as tree swallows and house wrens.”
Bluebirds live in open country, and are a beautiful songbird native to Pennsylvania. Bluebirds are cavity nesters and became less common due to a lack of suitable nest sites. Many nest sites have been lost through changing land-use practices, as well as to urban and suburban sprawl. But the introductions of house sparrows and starlings in 1851 and 1890 were the primary reasons for the bluebirds’ decline, as these non-native species took over native bluebird nesting cavities.
The bluebird boxes offered by the Game Commission include an opening that is the prescribed 1½ inches in diameter. This precludes starlings from being able to enter. However, house sparrows still are able to enter the boxes. If this occurs, the house sparrow nest should be removed immediately. They’re usually easy to identify; they fill up the whole nesting cavity with grasses and almost always include feathers and manmade materials in their composition. Native species such as tree swallows and house wrens should not be excluded from nest-boxes. Wrens construct nests with twigs; swallows build a nest with a distinct cup below the entrance hole.
Boxes should be placed on a free-standing pole 3-5 feet above the ground – facing south, if possible – and facing a nearby tree or fence where young birds can safely land on their initial flights from the box. To reduce predation and competition from other species, no perch should be placed on the box; bluebirds do not need one. Boxes placed in pairs, about 20 feet apart, may help reduce competition from swallows.
The Game Commission’s Howard Nursery has been manufacturing bluebird nest boxes and box kits for more than a quarter-century. Each year, about 9,000 boxes are manufactured there and sold or provided to Pennsylvanians to help bluebirds. That annual influx of new nest boxes helps ensure Pennsylvania remains a keystone state in bluebird conservation.
The boxes are on sale at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters, the Howard Nursery, the Game Commission’s six region offices, and can be ordered by mail through an order form available online. Sales will continue while supplies last.
Office hours are Monday to Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Game Commission’s headquarters is at 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81 in Harrisburg.
The Howard Nursery is located at 197 Nursery Road, Howard, Pa.
To order by phone, call the Game Commission’s Harrisburg office at 888-888-3459. If ordering by phone, shipping and handling costs will apply, depending on how many boxes are ordered.
The Wildlife Homes Order Form will soon be available at the Game Commission’s website. It will be found under the “General Store” tab, and in the “Howard Nursery” category.
For more information on bluebirds, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), hover over “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then select “Birding and Bird Conservation”, and then “Eastern Bluebird” in the Natural History section of the page. Also, information about additional wildlife nesting structures can be found by putting your cursor on “Self-Help” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then clicking on “Download Forms and Brochures” in the drop-down menu listing, and then clicking on “Wildlife Homes Order Form” in the “Agency Programs” section.