dove hunter

A dove hunter takes aim.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is now accepting applications for its full slate of controlled hunting and trapping opportunities during the 2019-20 season.

And the Pennsylvania Game Commission has streamlined the process for applying for these events by taking applications online at the agency’s website.

Middle Creek is a 6,000-acre Game Commission property on the Lancaster-Lebanon county line, north of Ephrata.

The property is intensely managed for wildlife, with some areas being off limits to regular public access.

Each year, Middle Creek allows hunters and trappers selected by lottery drawing special access to some of these controlled areas to chase different game species.

For the 2019-20 season, Middle Creek will host controlled hunts for doves, waterfowl and deer, in addition to trapping opportunities for furbearers.

Any licensed hunter can apply for these opportunities, and there is no cost to do so.

The application can be found on the Game Commission’s website, by clicking here.

The online application is quick and easy, and Lauren Ferreri, who manages the Middle Creek property, said it will save Game Commission staff “hours of data entry” time. In the past, hunters had to mail postcards to Middle Creek to apply for the hunts.

Understanding that not everyone has access to a computer, Ferreri said such hunters who want to apply for the special Middle Creek hunts can call the facility’s visitor center at 717-733-1512, or they can stop by the visitor’s center during business hours, and staff will complete the application process for them.

Here’s what you need to know about each of the controlled hunting and trapping opportunities at Middle Creek this fall:

DOVE HUNT

A random drawing will select 27 hunters – plus 10 alternates – for a limited dove hunt to be held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Sept. 3-21. Selected hunters will be assigned a hunting day and a hunting zone within the controlled area. Applications are being accepted through Aug. 9, with the drawing scheduled for Aug. 14.

ARCHERY DEER HUNT

A random drawing will select 48 hunters – plus 10 alternates – for a limited archery deer hunt scheduled for three weeks during the fall archery deer season – Oct. 5-12; Oct. 19-26; and Nov. 2-9. To be eligible for the hunt, applicants must have either a Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 5B antlerless deer license or a Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) Permit for Unit 3468. All selected hunters will be allowed to hunt antlerless deer, and half will be chosen by a second lottery drawing to be allowed to hunt antlered deer as well. Successful hunters will be assigned a hunting period and a hunting zone.  Applications are being accepted through Aug. 30, with the drawing scheduled for Sept. 4. (Remember, Middle Creek is within Disease Management Area 4, and so special regulations apply for the processing and disposal of certain deer parts.)

GOOSE HUNT

A random drawing will select 257 hunters to chase geese this fall. Of that total, 15 will be kids picked for the youth-only waterfowl day, and another 14 spots are reserved for hunters with disabilities. Hunting will take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during three periods - Nov. 19-28, Dec. 28-31, and Jan. 2-18. Selected hunters will be assigned a hunting day and will be drawn for a blind the morning of their hunt. Each selected hunter can bring up to three properly-licensed hunters to accompany them. Applications are being accepted through Aug. 30, with the special drawing scheduled for Sept. 11.

TRAPPING

A random drawing will select five trappers – one of whom will be a youth – and one alternate to be allowed to trap furbearers in the controlled area Nov. 30-Dec. 17 and Jan. 19-Feb. 23. Selected trappers will be assigned a zone. Applications are being accepted through Nov. 1, with the drawing scheduled for Nov. 6.

FLINTLOCK/ARCHERY DEER

A random drawing will select 36 hunters – plus 10 alternates – for flintlock/archery deer hunts scheduled for Dec. 18 and Jan. 22. (These dates are intentionally outside any regular deer-hunting seasons.) The first 18 hunters selected will be assigned to hunt Dec. 18, and the second 18 will be assigned to hunt Jan. 22. Each selected hunter can bring one guest to hunt with them. To be eligible for the hunt, applicants must have a WMU 5B antlerless license, DMAP Unit 3468 permit or an unused antlered tag, plus the required archery or muzzleloading license. All hunters will be allowed to hunt antlerless deer. Additionally, nine permitted hunters for each day will be selected through another lottery to be allowed to take bucks. Applications are being accepted through Nov. 1, with the lottery drawing scheduled for Nov. 6.