2009-01-31 / Outdoors

LOCAL DEER RESEARCH OFFERS $100 REWARDS

A new deer research project involving Cameron, Potter and McKean counties was discussed at a meeting of the Pa. Game Commission (PGC) this week. One new feature of the plan is a $100 reward for hunters who shoot specially marked deer.

It's a cooperative venture between the PGC and the U. S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State University.

The research is tied in with the changes in the firearms deer season in four Wildlife Management Units, including Area 2G, which covers all of Cameron County and the sections of Potter and McKean counties below Rt. 6.

Antlered deer are legal in Area 2G for the first five days of the two-week firearms deer season, followed by seven days of antlered and antlerless deer hunting.

This week, an update on the research was presented to the PGC by Dr. Christopher Rosenberry, the agency's deer and elk section supervisor, and Dr. Duane Diefenbach, who heads the Cooperative Research Unit.

"The research addresses biological and social aspects of the shortened antlerless season," Rosenberry said. "The study will seek to answer several questions, including: will hunters see more deer; and will the shorter antlerless season allow deer population objectives to be met? We will address these questions using radio-collared deer, ear-tagged deer, deer harvest data and hunter surveys."

Rosenberry noted that the study will monitor both hunters' opinions and deer population trends.

"Although many believe a shorter season may reduce the antlerless harvest, it is important to remember that the antlerless harvest can be adjusted with the license allocation," Rosenberry said. "If fewer deer are being harvested and the population objective is not being met, then we would recommend an increase in the allocation."

In a new twist, Diefenbach said some research deer will be marked with ear tags that provide a toll-free number for individuals to call in order to report harvest information and obtain a $100 reward.

Thousands of deer have been captured in Pennsylvania in the last nine years as part of the PGC continuing research.

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