MUSKIES APLENTY — Some of the 27,000 muskies being stocked into Pennsylvania’s waterways, school-up on their release day into the Susquehanna River at Wrightsville, York County.

The PA Game Commission has provided this short form as an alternative way to apply for an antlerless deer permit, provided you also get the pink envelope to mail it in.

Most of us have followed trout trucks on some of their early spring rounds, stocking tasty torpedoes into local waterways.

I had the chance recently to get out for a must-see stocking, of yearling muskies.

Warmwater species are an underrated crop grown by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Name a gamefish that isn’t a trout and the agency raises and releases it.

About 27,000 12- to 14-inch muskies are being released into the Susquehanna River and large water bodies. Lake Marburg will welcome the young predators on Tuesday.

The purebred muskies, they aren’t tiger muskies, were hatched and raised at the Linesville hatchery in Crawford County and make the five-plus hour trip to central Pennsylvania.

Muskellunge are solitary and territorial predators. They are so aggressive they will even attack and eat one another. While their main diet is fish, they will take snakes, frogs, muskrats, mice and even water birds.

They are usually found in shallow water, 15 feet or less, but have been caught as deep as 50 feet. They use a restricted home range, rarely moving more than two miles from their summer feeding areas.

Muskies can grow to over 35 pounds.

The muskies I saw go out, were put out by nets, by York County legislators state Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill and state Representative Keith Gillespie.

They went into the river at the boat ramp at the John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville.

The commission has decided to change its musky stocking program in order to stock fewer fish, so they are larger. This gives them a better shot at surviving.

When the one-year-olds hit the Susquehanna at Wrightsville, the 1,200 or so muskies grouped-up in places and faced upriver, until they got their bearings.

It will take about three years for the muskies to be ready as real keepers.



Another equally important finned delivery was made on Thursday, when 4,600 trout fingerlings made it to Fairfield High School, to begin the 2020 rearing season.

This marks the 44th year that the McSherrystown Fish and Game has produced fish through the Fish Commission’s Cooperative Nursery Program. There are about 140 co-ops in the state, adding an impressive one million trout to the preseason stocking supply.



If you haven’t gotten your 2019-20 hunting license back in the mail from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), which you bought on line, and so also haven’t received the application and pretty pink envelope for an antlerless license, don’t push the panic button just yet.

While the application period for antlerless licenses opened last Monday, there is an alternative to using the standard documents that come with the license.

The antlerless deer license allocation for wildlife management unit 5A, which include most of Adams County, is 22,000 so there should be ample supply for a few more weeks. In fact, just over 2,900 were still available last August 18, when they went up for the second round as unsold licenses.

To calm the growing storm of complaints, the Game Commission has provided the form included with this week’s “Fins,” as an alternative application. You can fill it out and mail it, along with a check, to the county treasurer in the pink, antlerless license application envelope.

The catch is, to get a pink envelop, you need your Customer ID (CID) number. Your CID is the same every year. So, if you have last year’s license you can get the CID from it.

If you don’t know your CID, you can get it by going to and entering alternative identification to reveal it.

Then, to get a pink envelope, visit any licensing agent.

Good luck.

I got mine in the mail, finally, on Wednesday.

“… we do truly apologize for the inadequate service many of you have received from our licensing agent,” the PGC said in a special notice on its website. “Our agency must contract with an entity to provide our license system service, and this includes fulfilling online license orders. None of the entities that bid on the contract were from Pennsylvania. That is why those of you who have received your licenses noticed an out-of-state address on the envelope. The licenses are supposed to be delivered within 7-10 business days, regardless of the entity’s location. If you did not receive a (free) 2019-20 Hunter Trapper Digest, email us at and we will get one in the mail to you.”



The Game Commission is planning open houses and exhibits to get the world ready for a statewide ban on feeding big game. None of those opportunities are set for the Adams-York region.

In a press release, the PGC said, “In recent years, the occurrence of both CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) in deer and mange in bears has increased. The Pennsylvania Game Commission takes the threat of wildlife diseases very seriously and must take appropriate steps to mitigate wildlife diseases and their spread. While this is not an easy problem to solve, it is serious and needs to be addressed.”

The PGC said, “The open-house format allows visitors to casually view information about the problem and possible solutions. Agency staff will be on hand to answer questions.”

Dates, times and places of the events are:

Thursday, July 18, 6-8 p.m., PGC Northcentral Region Office, 1566 South Route 44 Highway, Jersey Shore

Tuesday, July 23, 6-8 p.m., PGC Southeast Region Office, 253 Snyder Road, Reading

Wednesday, July 24, 6-8 p.m., PGC Northeast Region Office, 3917 Memorial Highway, Dallas

Tuesday, July 30, 6-8 p.m., Warren High School, 345 E. Fifth Ave., Warren

Wednesday, July 31, 6-8 p.m., PGC Southcentral Regional Office, 8627 William Penn Highway, Huntingdon

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 6-8 p.m., Delmont Fire Department, 2360 PA-66, Delmont

Thursday, Aug. 8, 6-8 p.m., PGC Northcentral Region Office, 1566 South Route 44 Highway, Jersey Shore.

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