Game Commission Details (2022)

HARRISBURG, PA - Pennsylvania’s 2022-23 migratory game bird seasons have been set.

Annual migratory game bird seasons are selected by states from frameworks established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Game Commission selections were made after reviewing last year’s hunter harvests, population survey data and public input.

There are two significant changes to Pennsylvania waterfowl seasons this year, said Wildlife Operations Division Chief Ian Gregg. The first change eliminates the Southern James Bay Population Canada goose zone and incorporates the area into the Resident Population zone. The Southern James Bay Population has been shifting its wintering areas west over the last four to five decades.

“With very few Southern James Bay Population geese wintering in northwestern Pennsylvania, it is no longer necessary to have a zone to specifically manage for them,” Gregg said. “We believe hunters in this area will appreciate the higher bag limits allowed in the Resident Population zone. Please note, however, that more restrictive regulations remain in place in portions of Crawford and Mercer counties surrounding Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area; consult the Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.”

The other change removes the separate lower hooded merganser bag limit. Hunters may now harvest any combination of common, red-breasted or hooded mergansers as part of the five-merganser daily bag limit. Hooded mergansers have been generally stable or increasing in recent decades.

“This change will simplify regulations and should allow for some additional opportunity for those hunters who want to target hooded mergansers,” said Waterfowl Program Specialist Nate Huck.

The other change not related to frameworks relates to mourning dove seasons. The second portion of the season will be shifted back a week and run from Dec. 21 through Jan. 7.

“This shift is to accommodate public desire to remain open through the first week of January,” said Dove and Quail Biologist Andrew Ward.

The early portions of the season will remain similar to last year.

Other migratory game bird seasons are similar to last year’s seasons.

Hunters encouraged to report banded birds

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Migratory game bird hunters are encouraged to report banded ducks, geese, doves and woodcock they harvest online at Hunters will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of migratory birds were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of migratory birds.

Huck also stressed that reporting leg bands helps the Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service learn more about migratory bird movements, and survival and harvest rates, which are critical to population management and setting of hunting regulations. Last year, over 6,000 migratory game birds, including more than 5,000 waterfowl, were banded in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania continues to monitor migratory game bird populations in cooperation with other wildlife management agencies across North America,” Huck explained. “Information provided by hunters is essential to manage migratory game bird populations and support sustainable hunting opportunities through time. By reporting the recovery of a leg band, hunters not only assist in managing the resource, but also have an opportunity to learn interesting facts about the bird they harvested.”



North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 8-22, and Nov. 15-Jan. 7.

South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 8-15, and Nov. 22-Jan. 21.

Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 8-Dec. 3, and Dec. 27-Jan. 7.

Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 31-Jan. 7.

Total Duck Bag Limits: 6 daily, 18 in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 2 mallards including no more than 1 hen mallard, 2 black ducks, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 1 pintail, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous whistling duck, 4 sea ducks; including no more than 3 eiders and no more than 1 female eider, 3 long-tailed ducks, and 3 scoters. Daily limit for scaup varies; see below. Possession limits are three times the daily limits.

Scaup Bag Limits:

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North Zone: 1 scaup daily, Oct. 8-22 and Nov. 15-Dec. 15; 2 scaup daily, Dec. 16-Jan.7

South Zone: 1 scaup daily, Oct. 8-15 and Nov. 22-Dec. 29; 2 scaup daily, Dec. 30-Jan. 21

Northwest Zone: 1 scaup daily, Oct. 8-Nov. 23; 2 scaup daily, Nov. 24-Dec. 3 and Dec. 27-Jan. 7

Lake Erie Zone: 2 scaup daily, Oct. 31- Nov. 22; 1 scaup daily, Nov. 23-Jan. 7

Mergansers: 5 daily, 15 in possession

Coots: 15 daily, 45 in possession.


Resident Population Goose Zone (RP)

All of Pennsylvania except for the Atlantic Population zone. Sept. 1-24 (8-goose daily bag limit); and Oct. 22-Nov. 25, Dec. 12-Jan. 14, and Feb. 3-Feb. 25 (5-goose daily bag limit in latter 3 segments).

Exception: See hunting digest

Atlantic Population Zone (AP)

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The area east of SR 97 from Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of US Route 30, south of US Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I-81, east of I-81 to intersection of I-80, south of I-80 to New Jersey state line. Sept. 1-24 (8-goose daily bag limit); and Nov. 22-25 and Dec. 23-Jan. 21 (1-goose daily bag limit in latter two segments).

Exception: See hunting digest

BRANT (All Zones): Oct. 8-Dec. 5. 2 daily, 6 in possession.

LIGHT GEESE (Snow Geese and Ross’ Geese):

Atlantic Population Zone:

Regular: Oct. 1-Jan. 28, 25 daily, no possession limit.

Conservation Hunt: Jan. 30 – April 21; 25 daily, no possession limit.

Resident Population Zone:

Regular: Oct. 25-Feb. 25; 25 daily, no possession limit.

Conservation Hunt: Feb. 27 – April 21; 25 daily, no possession limit.


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Junior Days:

Sept. 24; Open to junior hunters and mentored youth hunters under the age of 16 when properly accompanied, for ducks, mergansers, gallinules and coots, and Canada goose as permitted. Same daily bag limits as regular season. Hunting hours to close at sunset.

Junior, Veteran and Active Duty Military Days:

In Lake Erie Zone; Oct. 22; in Northwest Zone, Dec. 17; in North Zone, Nov. 5; and in South Zone, Nov. 12. Open to junior hunters and mentored youth hunters under the age of 16, when properly accompanied; veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code); and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training) for ducks, mergansers, gallinules and coots, and Canada goose as permitted. Same daily bag limits as regular season.

Veteran and Active Duty Military Days:

In Lake Erie Zone; Jan. 14; in Northwest Zone, Jan. 14; in North Zone, Jan. 14; and in South Zone, Jan. 28. Veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code); and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training) for ducks, mergansers, gallinules and coots, and Canada goose as permitted. Same daily bag limits as regular season.

DOVES: Sept. 1-Nov. 25, and Dec. 21-Jan. 7. 15 daily, 45 in possession.

WOODCOCK: Oct. 15-Nov. 25, and Dec. 12-21. 3 daily, 9 in possession.

COMMON SNIPE: Oct. 15-Nov. 25, and Dec. 12-21. 8 daily, 24 in possession.

GALLINULES: Sept. 1-Nov. 21. 3 daily, 9 in possession.

VIRGINIA AND SORA RAILS: Sept. 1-Nov. 21. Bag limits by single species or in the aggregate; 3 daily, 9 in possession.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau - 717-705-6541

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How do I contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission? ›

Callers anywhere in the state can now dial 1-833-PGC-HUNT or 1-833-PGC-WILD to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Centralized Dispatch Center and be directed appropriately.

What is the fine for poaching deer in PA? ›

penalties shall be imposed for violations of this title: (1) Misdemeanor of the first degree, not less than $2,000 nor more than $10,000 and may be sentenced to imprisonment up to six months.

What is considered small game in Pennsylvania? ›

Pennsylvania's small game species include squirrel (gray, fox and red), pheasant, rabbit, grouse, bobwhite quail, snowshoe hare, woodchuck, and crow.

How many game wardens are in Pennsylvania? ›

He kind of acquired that interest later in life.” According to the Game Commission, there are 187 game wardens in the state.

Can PA Game Commission come on private property? ›

By Pennsylvania statute, wildlife officers “have the right and authority to go upon or enter any property, posted or otherwise,” and are fully authorized to perform “inspections of persons, licenses and permits.” Any private landowner that declines property entry to a game warden potentially faces a $1,500 fine and ...

How do I file a complaint with the PA Game Commission? ›

To report information, call the Operation Game Thief's toll-free hotline – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – at 1-888-PGC-8001 or click here to fill out an online form. “Like” the “Operation Game Thief, Pennsylvania Game Commission” Facebook pageOpens In A New Window for current cases.

Can farmers shoot deer out of season in PA? ›

Pennsylvania farmers can legally shoot deer any time of year to deal with crop depredation.

What happens if you get caught baiting deer in PA? ›

Hunting over bait is a summary offense punishable by a $150 to $300 fine. But like many violations of the state's Game and Wildlife Code, one violation might mean others are present, too, Grohol said.

Can you use someone else's deer tag in PA? ›

So first off let me get it out of the way, I am fully aware that party hunting and tag sharing is illegal in PA. Any big game animal can only legally be tagged by the person who shot it, the fact that people currently do it even though it is illegal is not what I want to discuss.

Can I shoot a deer on my property in PA? ›

Safety Zones: It is unlawful to hunt for, shoot at, trap, take, chase or disturb wildlife within 150 yards of any occupied residence, camp, indus- trial or commercial building, farm house or farm building, or school or playground without the permission of the occupants.

Can I shoot a fox on my property in PA? ›

Only the property owner or person in charge of the property may take steps to capture or kill wildlife.

Can I shoot a coyote on my property in Pennsylvania? ›

Yes. Only those with furtaker licenses may hunt coyotes at night during the big game season. However, you should expect to undergo quite a bit of scrutiny from a game warden if you are approached while hunting coyotes at night during a big game season.

What degree is best for a game warden? ›

The common pattern for most state and federal game warden positions requires a core degree in criminal justice or one of the following majors: Wildlife and/or Natural Resource Conservation. Wildlife Ecology. Biological Science (Specifically Wildlife Biology)

How long is Pa game warden training? ›

The training program is about 50 weeks. The curriculum consists of more than 1,400 hours of instruction on more than 140 subjects taught by nearly 200 instructors. Many instructors are agency employees. Cadets are paid $1,376.80 bi-weekly and receive the same employee benefits given to all Commonwealth employees.

Can a game warden pull you over in PA? ›

A Game Commission officer may go upon any land or water, outside of buildings, except the curtilage of a home in performing his duties; may stop any transportation upon reasonable suspicion or road checkpoints; and search any person, car, clothes, bags, or other containers upon probable cause, consent, exigent ...

How many acres do you need to hunt in PA? ›

(2) The 50 or more contiguous acres of land are open to public hunting and trapping and shall remain open to hunting and trapping during the hunting license year for which the antlerless deer license is issued.

Can I hunt on my own land without a license in PA? ›

In Pennsylvania, you may not hunt private property without the permission of the landowner. Written permission is not required, but it is advisable.

Can you hunt from your house in PA? ›

As long as a hunter is not within a safety zone, and has the permission of the occupants within the house, the individual may hunt from their house/porch as long as they are still lawfully wearing the required amount of fluorescent orange and following the other hunting regulations.

Does PA Game Commission pick up dead deer? ›

If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass. To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the accident occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number, which the caller should write down.

What is the website for the Pennsylvania Game Commission? › to any in-person license vendor.

Does the PA Game Commission remove dead deer? ›

Responsibility for removing deer carcasses from roadways is shared by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Game Commission, which sometimes hires contractors to collect and dispose of the deer.

Where is the PA Game Commission located? ›

Commonwealth of Pennyslvania, Office of Open Records, 333 Market Street, 16th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2234.


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