PA Bill To Protect Wildlife From Poachers

PA Game Commission Praises House Committee For Approving Bill To Protect Wildlife From Poachers

Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission

HARRISBURG, PA – -( Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today praised the House Game and Fisheries Committee and its chairmen, Rep. Edward G. Staback (D-Lackawanna) and Rep. Craig Dally (R-Northampton), for its near unanimous approval of House Bill 97, which would increase penalties and fines for poaching. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Staback.

“Increasing penalties for serious violations is one of the operational objectives within the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Strategic Plan, and we welcome this first-step in the process taken by the Committee today,” Roe said. “Enactment of this bill will mark the first comprehensive piece of legislation to increase Game and Wildlife Code Penalties since 1987, and we believe it will significantly enhance wildlife protection in the Commonwealth.

“We also believe that there will be widespread public support for this legislation as indicated by surveys that showed 96 percent of Pennsylvania’s citizens feel that wildlife protection is a vitally important function.”

Roe said that the causes of poaching vary, but the myth that most poachers are committing their offenses to provide food for their families is, in reality, almost never the case.

“Most often, poaching today is committed by criminals driving $30,000 vehicles, using expensive night-vision technology, illegal silencers and firearms,” Roe said. “Most commonly, the causes are simply greed, obsessive behavior in collecting antlers; in some cases poachers take great pride in their infamous status in local communities. A disturbing and increasingly common cause is killing simply for thrill with no intention of making use of any part of the animal.”

Roe called on the full House to pass this historic measure, so the Senate can begin consideration as soon as possible.