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Off The Beaten Path

The State College Area is full of great woodland trails for outdoor sports and activities. But runners should use caution, especially during hunting season. Particular care should be exercised when running in State Game Lands, which are often used by runners and come close to populated areas.

Here are the Pennsylvania State Game Commission's regulations.

Here is an official map, published by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, of State Game Land 176, which is the game land closest to town.

Here is a trail map, compiled by Marty Mazur, from our running maps pages that shows many of the trails in SGL 176.

Group runs are frequently planned for the Game Lands. Here are directions to the two most common meeting places for Game Lands runs.


Note that hunting is not limited to State Game Lands. Be aware that the farmer who has told you it was OK to run across his field may have also told hunters that they could clear his land of deer. The message below is adopted from a local hiker's bulletin board, but the message applies to anyone who takes to the woods. The dates mentioned apply to the current season, and we'll try to keep this information updated from year to year. However, the approximate times will probably be good from year to year, and the message is clear. It's generally a good idea to stay out of the Game Lands, except on Sundays, from October through late January, and in May. And always wear bright colors and florescent orange.

 
Calendar of PA Hunting & Trapping Seasons:


Many people who are not hunters are not aware of the many seasons which put hunters in the woods for their lawful hunting activities.
Starting in early October, there will be many different hunting activities going on in Pennsylvania; hunters will be:
  • Quietly sitting in tree stands, waiting for Deer
  • Sitting with their backs to trees, calling in Wild Turkey
  • Standing or slowly stalking Small Game
Some hunting activities require Blaze Orange Caps and Vests; others allow complete camo. Some hunters will have bows, some use shotguns, some use high-power rifles . . .It all depends on what game they are seeking.
"SAFE" means "absence of risk". You might consider doing your outdoor activity in areas where hunting is not allowed.  We don't want anyone to interfere with lawful hunting activity. Neither do we want to read about someone being killed or injured while walking out there, enjoying the woods.
Recent PGC Regulation:

IT IS UNLAWFUL
for non-hunters to be present, except on Sunday, on State Game Lands from November 15 through December 15 inclusive without wearing at least a Fluorescent Orange hat, visible from 360 degrees (a vest or jacket of 250 sq. inches is of  Safety Orange is recommended).
.  .
 
BUT  11/15 to 12 /15 IS NOT THE ONLY "HUNTING SEASON":
 

2015-16 Hunting Seasons and Bag Limits 

These are the seasons and bag limits for most hunting and trapping seasons from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. 

2015-16 Waterfowl Brochure
Downloadable Calendar of PA Hunting & Trapping Seasons

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license, and mentored youth – Oct. 10-16 (6 daily, 18 in possession limit after first day). SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Oct. 17-Nov. 28; Dec. 14-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (6 daily, 18 possession).

RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 17–Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 23 (2 daily, 6 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail) Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license: Oct. 10-17 (4 daily, 12 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 24-Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (4 daily, 12 possession).

PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license – Oct. 10-17 (2 daily, 6 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs. There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.

PHEASANT: Male only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Male and female may be taken in all other WMUs –Oct. 24-Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (2 daily, 6 in possession). There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.

BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 24-Nov. 28 (4 daily, 12 possession). (Closed in 5A, Open in all other WMUs.)

HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES: Dec. 26–Jan.1, in all WMUs except WMUs 3B, 3C and 3D, where season will run from Dec. 26-29 (1 daily, 3 possession).

WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except on Sundays and during the regular firearms deer seasons. No limit.

PORCUPINES: Sept. 1-March 31, except during overlap with the regular firearms deer season. (3 daily, season limit of 10).

CROWS: July 3-April 10, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. No limit.

STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer season. No limit.

WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): WMU 1B – Oct. 31-Nov. 7 and Nov. 26-28; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) – Oct. 31-Nov. 20 and Nov. 26-28; WMUs 1A, 2A, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B and 4D– Oct. 31-Nov. 14 and Nov. 26-28; WMUs 2C, 4C and 4E – Oct. 31-Nov. 20  and Nov. 26-28; WMU 5A – Nov. 5-7; WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D – CLOSED TO FALL TURKEY HUNTING.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth – April 23, 2016. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 30-May 31, 2016. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may be only taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.) From April 30-May 14, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 16-31, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide) Archery: Nov. 16-20. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 21-25. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2C, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 2-5. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 30-Dec. 12. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D): Nov. 30-Dec. 5. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) archery: Sept. 19-Nov. 14. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMU 5B) archery: Oct. 3-Nov. 14. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) muzzleloader: Oct. 17-24. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) special firearms: Oct. 22-24, for junior and senior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty military.

ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Nov. 2-7. Only one elk may be taken during the license year.

ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 9-14. Only one elk may be taken during the license year. Eligible elk license recipients who haven't harvested an elk by Nov. 8, in designated areas.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 19- Nov. 28 and Dec. 26-Jan. 23, 2016. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 3-Nov. 14 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 30-Dec. 12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E: Nov. 30-Dec. 4. One antlered deer per hunting license year. (Holders of valid DMAP antlerless deer permits may harvest antlerless deer on DMAP properties during this period.)

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E: Dec. 5-12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide): Oct. 22-24. Junior and Senior License Holders, Mentored Youth Permit Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 17-24. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 9. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D): Dec. 26-Jan. 23. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS EXTENDED REGULAR FIREARMS: (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties): Dec. 26-Jan. 23. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

2015-16 FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS

COYOTES: No closed season. Unlimited. Outside of any big game season (deer, bear, elk and turkey), coyotes may be taken with a hunting license or a furtaker license, and without wearing orange. During any big game season, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting big game or with a furtaker license.

RACCOONS and FOXES: Oct. 24–Feb. 20, unlimited.

OPOSSUM, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: No closed season, except Sundays. No limits.

BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Jan. 16-Feb. 9. One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.


2015-16 TRAPPING SEASONS

MINKS and MUSKRATS: Nov. 21–Jan. 10. Unlimited.

COYOTES, FOXES, OPOSSUMS, RACCOONS, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: Oct. 25–Feb. 21. No limit.

COYOTES and FOXES (Statewide) Cable Restraints: Dec. 26-Feb. 21. No limit. Participants must pass cable restraint certification course.

BEAVERS (Statewide): Dec. 26–March 31 (Limits vary depending on WMU).

BOBCATS (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 19-Jan. 10.

One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

FISHERS (WMUs 1B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4D and 4E): Dec. 19-24. One fisher per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.

RIVER OTTERS (WMUs 3C and 3D): Feb. 21-23, 2016. One river otter per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.


2015-16 FALCONRY SEASONS

SQUIRRELS (combined), BOBWHITE QUAIL, RUFFED GROUSE, COTTONTAIL RABBITS, Sept. 1-March 31, 2016.

SNOWSHOE OR VARYING HARES, RINGNECK PHEASANTS (Male or Female combined): Sept. 1-March 31. Daily and Field Possession limits vary. (Migratory game bird seasons and bag limits for falconers will be set in accordance with federal regulations in August.)

No open season on other wild birds or mammals.

Waterfowl and Migratory Game Bird seasons to be established in accordance with federal regulations this summer.

 
As you can see, "Hunting Season" isn't just one month. Please be aware of these lawful hunting activities. You don't want to ruin a hunter's day - and he or she doesn't want you to be endangered.
 
IF YOU'RE OUT THERE, BE AWARE ! . . .WEAR BLAZE ORANGE FOR SAFETY
 
Please be aware that sportsmen and women could be legally hunting in some State Parks, Conservation Areas, Sanctuaries and other areas where hunting is normally not allowed. PGC’s Deer Management program and plans to reduce Canada Goose populations will open some areas where you haven’t seen hunting before.  Check with the agency supervisors for details.  Hunting is the most cost-effective method of control.

Hunting is always prohibited on the Appalachian Trail’s National Park Service-owned corridor, but there may be some hunters who are not aware of that law.

For detailed information, (and the information about migratory waterfowl),

go to
www.pgc.state.pa.us