Some of the biggest hunting seasons are going on over the next few weeks. The big seasons start tomorrow, Saturday, November 19, 2011. This is the beginning of the statewide shotgun season for black bear. The season starts on Saturday and concludes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with no hunting on Sunday. After black bear season finishes, the late season for turkey continues through most of the state on Thursday, November 24. This season lasts until statewide deer season comes in on Monday, November 28.
So it is time to make sure that you are prepared. We all think about the obvious things. Check you equipment to ensure that it is functioning properly. Scout for your area to increase your chances of bagging the big one. Obtain permission if you are hunting on private lands. And most of all ensuring that you have your current hunting license and tags. However, the most important thing to know is what Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) your hunting area is in.
The WMU system was put in place by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2003. The Wildlife Management Unit consists of an area that is managed for game based on habitat, wildlife population, and human characteristics in the area. It replaced the old 67 county system with 22 WMU’s. The WMU has borders that are defined by major roads which would help hunters in the middle of the woods know what regulations would apply.
Knowing your WMU is an important part of hunting in Pennsylvania. Some WMU’s will have special seasons because they take into consideration wildlife populations. For example, there is a late black bear season in several WMU’s around Harrisburg and the southeastern part of the state. Some WMU’s will some special conditions during a season. For example, several WMU’s have a restriction during the first week of deer season for antlered deer only. This includes a couple of the units around Johnstown. Because of these restrictions and seasons, it is also important to check your season and bags limits set for each WMU by the Game Commission.
In the Johnstown area, there are 4 main WMU’s to consider. These are WMU’s 2C, 2E, 4D, and 4A.
- WMU 2C covers all of Somerset County and portions of Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, Westmoreland, and Fayette Counties. It is bordered by West Virginia to the south, I-99 and US 220 to the east, to the north with US-22 to US-422 via US-219 then to US-119 near Indiana, then in the west using US-119 to US-22 to PA-66 then US-119 near New Stanton.
- WMU 2E covers parts of Indiana, Cambria, Jefferson, and Clearfield Counties. It is bordered on the south by US-422 to US-22 via US-219 near Ebensburg, in the east PA-53 north, in the north by I-80 and in the west by US-219 to US-119.
- WMU 4D covers parts of Cambria, Blair, Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Mifflin, Lycoming, Union, Snyder, Juniata and Huntingdon Counties. It is bordered on the south by US-22 and PA-35, in the east by PA-104 to PA-45 to US-15 near Williamsport, in the North by US-220 and I-80 and in the west by PA-53.
- WMU 4A covers parts of Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Fulton and Franklin Counties. It is bordered on the south by the Maryland State line, in the east PA-75 to US-30 to US-522, in the north by US-22 and in the west by I-99 and US-220.
For information on the other WMU’s in Pennsylvania, check out the WMU interactive map.
Be prepared and happy hunting.
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