Pennsylvania Game Commission To Participate and Host Events Promoting Wildlife, Hunting and Trapping in September

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Pennsylvania Elk HuntingHARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Game Commission officials, in September, will participate in and host five outdoors events promoting wildlife and hunting and trapping.

On Sept. 19 and 20, the 2008 Elk Expo will be held at the Elk County Fairgrounds in Kersey, Elk County.  Admission to the Elk Expo, which sponsored by the Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau, is $3 for those 12 years of age and older; those under 12 are free.

At 5 p.m. on Sept. 20, Game Commission officials will hold a public drawing to select the names of 45 hunters who will be awarded elk hunting licenses for the season that will be held Nov. 3-8.  Of the 45 licenses awarded, the first 17 will be for antlered elk and the next 28 for antlerless elk.  For information and a schedule of events, contact the Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau at 800-348-9393 or visit: visitpago.com/elkexpo/index.html.

In Crawford County, the 27th annual Pymatuning Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Expo will be held Sept. 20-21 in and around Linesville, Crawford County.  A highlight of the two-day event is the selection of the 27th Annual Pennsylvania Waterfowl Management Stamp from entries by many of the Commonwealth’s most accomplished wildlife artists, which will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Linesville High School, 302 West School Drive.

At 10 a.m., on Sept. 20, the Game Commission will conduct its annual public drawing to select those who will be afforded an opportunity to use one of the blinds for waterfowl hunting at Pymatuning.  The drawing will be held at the Game Commission’s Pymatuning Administration Building, 9552 Hartstown Rd.

At 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20, Game Commission Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer Bruce Ellis, from Mercer County, will hold a waterfowl information and banding program, with the opportunity for children to assist in the release of wild ducks, at the Learning Center, 12590 Hartstown Road.  The Learning Center also will be open on Saturday and Sunday for visitors.

Also on Sept. 20-21, the Game Commission’s Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area will host the 22nd Annual Middle Creek Wildfowl Show.  The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Visitor Center, which is along Hopeland Road, two miles south of Kleinfeltersville, on the Lebanon-Lancaster county line.

Admission is free, but donations are graciously accepted and will benefit the Wildlands Preservation Fund, which has helped to preserve more than 46,000 acres in an 18-county area in eastern Pennsylvania, including more than 1,200 acres at Middle Creek.

The show features wildfowl carvings and carving supplies, artwork, collectibles, dog training supplies and hunting items from more than 60 vendors.  Retriever demonstrations will be at 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Sept. 20, and at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.  Two different retriever clubs will display their dogs’ abilities, both with water retrievals and upland retrievals.  Demonstrations on Saturday will be performed by the Keystone Retriever Club, and on Sunday, by the Northern Piedmont Retriever Club. 

Decoy competitions will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and winners will be announced at 4 p.m.  Carvers may enter their creations into different categories to include decorative, working and shorebird gunning rigs.  Each year, a different duck is chosen for the decorative competition.  This year, the mallard was selected.

Pennsylvania State Duck and Goose Calling Championships will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday.  The winner of the duck calling competition will likely go to the world duck calling championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and the winner of the goose calling competition will likely go to the world goose calling championship in Easton, Maryland.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, representatives of the Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, along with several respected statewide sportsmen’s organizations, will host a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration in the East Wing Rotunda of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

The event, which will feature a series of informational booths, will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and will include a news conference at 11 a.m.  The event will highlight the importance hunting, trapping, fishing and boating and the related activities supported by the two independent state agencies have had on and continue to provide to the state’s cultural heritage, outdoors recreation and economy.

On Sunday, Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Middle Creek will host a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration.  Planned events include hands-on activities for people of all ages. 

Activities include (* denotes hands-on activities): exhibits/displays from local, state, and national sportsmen’s organizations; archery shoot*; muzzleloading rifles*; fly rod casting instruction*; fishing*; and trapping demonstrations.

Additionally, Red Creek Rehabers will conduct two live birds of prey demonstrations during the day.

Another highlight will be the laser SHOT system, available for kids of all ages to try.  The SHOT system is a simulated hunting experience to test an individual’s marksmanship and decision-making in hunting situations. 

In 1970, the first to suggest an official “day of thanks” to sportsmen was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe’s Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Delaware County.  Gov. Raymond Shafer adopted Joffe’s idea and created “Outdoor Sportsman’s Day” in the state.

With determined prompting from various sportsmen, the concept soon emerged on the national level when, in early 1972, Congress unanimously passed legislation authorizing a National Hunting and Fishing Day.  On May 2, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, and soon after, all 50 governors and more than 600 mayors had joined in by proclaiming state and local versions of National Hunting and Fishing Day.