Commissioners to discuss hunting, trapping seasons

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will hold its first meeting of 2021 on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The meeting will include discussion and preliminary approval of hunting and trapping seasons for the 2021-22 license year.

In compliance with state guidelines to minimize the effects of COVID-19, the meeting will be held only online, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The board will hear reports from staff before picking up its prepared agenda.

Those wishing to submit comments for the board to consider can do so in one of two ways. Comments can be sent by email to pgccomments@pa.gov. Those who, in recent months, already have emailed comments about policy matters do not need to do so again; those comments have been forwarded to the board.

People also may submit recorded comments by phone by pre-registering online to receive a call from the Game Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 20, between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Their comments, up to five minutes in length, will be recorded during the call. The pre-registration form needed to submit comments by phone can be found directly at https://http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LSHQ33P, or through the "Upcoming Events" link under the "Information and Resources" tab at www.pgc.pa.gov. Calls will be placed on a first-to-register, first-to-be-called basis until 11 a.m. If you pre-register and do not get a call from the Game Commission during this three-hour window, please email your comments to pgccomments@pa.gov.

All submitted public comments will be sent to the board to be read and heard before the Jan. 23 meeting.

To watch the virtual meeting live, register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/679579959715434256?source=news+release. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The agenda for the January meeting is available at the Game Commission's website, www.pgc.pa.gov. Under "Quick Clicks," on the left side of the homepage, select "Board Meetings & Events," then click the link provided in the description of the Saturday, Jan. 23 meeting.

Those unable to watch the meeting live can view it later on the agency's YouTube Channel.

Howard Nursery to provide seedlings for 2021

Disrupted last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual sale of tree and shrub seedlings from the Game Commission's Howard Nursery has returned for 2021 stronger than ever.

Seedlings that would have been dug up and shipped out last spring were left to grow another year after the 2020's seedling sale was canceled. In some cases, that means the nursery will be offering larger, more-resilient seedlings in this year's sale with a wide variety of seedlings available 20 species in all.

The 2021 seedling order form is available online now.

Among this year's offerings are red mulberry, North America's only native mulberry tree, which grows to mature heights between 30 and 50 feet; Eastern red cedar, which also is known as juniper and produces a berry-like cone used by many birds; and Northern bayberry, a hardy shrub that can reach 15-foot heights and is an important winter food source for grouse and other birds.

There are a variety of oaks, pines, spruces and other deciduous and evergreen trees, and a host of shrubs also available for sale, some of them in impressive numbers. For instance, the nursery presently has twelve 4-foot-wide, 440-foot-long beds of red oak seedlings a linear mile of red oak awaiting to be sold, shipped and transplanted, said Brian Stone, manager at Howard Nursery.

"There's more of a variety of species because the seedlings stayed in the ground last year so a few of the seedlings have grown bigger than in previous years and are of exceptional quality," Stone said. "So, we're very excited to get the 2021 sale underway, and later this spring get seedlings out to properties statewide to improve habitat and help Pennsylvania's wildlife."

The Howard Nursery grows tree and shrub seedlings for use on state game lands and Hunter Access properties, as well as for the Seedlings for Schools program and the Game Commission's conservation partners.

Any remaining surplus is available to Pennsylvania residents for purchase. Seedlings are sold in units of 25.

Most orders of 12 or more total units qualify for applicable discounted pricing. With the discount, prices are as low as $5.50 per unit. Regular price ranges from $7.50 to $9.50, depending upon the seedling species.

In the 2021 sale, red mulberry is the only seedling for which a discount isn't offered because it's available in limited numbers only.

Stone said those who are interested in placing an order should call Howard Nursery at 814-355-4434 once the sale begins. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Orders can be placed by FAX as well at 814-355-8094

The order form is available at www.pgc.pa.gov. Place your cursor over "Information & Resources" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then click on "Make a Purchase" to find the 2021 Seedling Order Form. There also will be a link in Quick Clicks called Seedling Sales.