Game Commission Seeks Public Comment On Deer Plan
HARRISBURG, PA –-(AmmoLand.com)- The Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking public input on a draft deer management plan, which can be reviewed on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on the “Draft Deer Management Plan” icon under the large photo in the center of the homepage.
“We are seeking public comment on the revised deer management plan to ensure the resulting final management plan considers the thoughts and concerns of Pennsylvanians about this species,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “As written, the plan is science-based, progressive and promotes responsible management. We’re interested in hearing from Pennsylvanians who would like to offer comments, and to see if we’ve missed something or if they share our management vision for the future.”
Developed by biologists with the agency’s Deer Management Section, the deer management plan establishes management goals through 2018. Those goals are to: manage deer for a healthy and sustainable deer herd; manage deer-human conflicts at levels considered safe and acceptable to Pennsylvania citizens; manage deer impacts for healthy and sustainable forest habitat; manage deer to provide recreational opportunities; and to improve the public’s knowledge and understanding of deer and the deer management program. Game Commission staff uses these guidelines when making deer management recommendations to the Board of Game Commissioners.
“These goals are the result of a public involvement process,” DuBrock said. “The mission and deer management goals are important forms of public input, and in most cases, will outweigh other forms of public input. However, the mission and goals cannot always provide the necessary information for specific issues. As a result, the Game Commission also uses other methods of public involvement in its deer management program such as public meetings, surveys, and Citizen Advisory Committees.”
DuBrock noted that the Game Commission follows an adaptive management approach to deer management. Adaptive management is characterized by establishing clear and measurable objectives, implementing management actions, monitoring those management actions and whether they achieved the objectives, and adapting policy and management actions as necessary.
“Adaptive management recognizes deer management decisions must be made without the luxury of perfect information,” DuBrock said. “Consequently, the focus of adaptive management is on monitoring responses to management actions and learning. By managing white-tailed deer in this way, the Game Commission can effectively adapt management as conditions change.
“Deer population management integrates data-driven objectives for deer and forest habitat health with value-driven objectives for deer-human conflicts. First and foremost, the Game Commission must achieve its duties and responsibilities to wildlife and habitat. Deer and forest habitat health measures meet this need. However, objectively defining deer-human conflicts is impossible because of the range of values and perceptions exhibited by people. Rather than attempt to quantify deer-human conflicts, the Game Commission uses Citizen Advisory Committees to help assess deer-human conflicts.”
DuBrock stressed that deer management objectives are no longer defined by deer densities. Instead, deer management objectives are defined by measures of deer health, forest habitat health, and deer-human conflicts.
“The change from defining deer management objectives by deer densities to specific measures for each goal has created controversy,” DuBrock said. “Although the Game Commission acknowledges the desire of hunters and the public to know how many deer are in Pennsylvania at any given time, the Game Commission has a duty to implement a responsible and credible deer management program that addresses deer management goals through the most efficient use of available data.
“Responsible deer management cannot be a popularity contest. As Pennsylvania’s history demonstrates, deer management was, is, and will continue to be an issue where complete agreement by all stakeholders is unlikely. To accomplish the goals provided by the public, the Game Commission’s deer management program must be based on the best available information and made in the best interest of white-tailed deer, Pennsylvania’s wildlife and natural resources, and all citizens for today and tomorrow. Balancing the science and biology of deer management with the values of citizens will continue to be the greatest challenge for the Game Commission’s deer program.”
Public comments on the agency’s deer management plan will be accepted until March 12, via the website or by mail to: Deer Management Plan, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
Additionally, public comment can be offered at the upcoming open houses that the Game Commission will be hosting in six communities around the state between Feb. 20 and April 10. Open houses will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a Saturday to maximize the opportunity for those interested in attending, and are being held in different locations than the three previous rounds to afford residents in other areas of the state the opportunity to attend.
The schedule for the open houses is as follows:
February 20 – Northcentral Region
Coudersport Volunteer Fire Company Training Center
171 Rt. 6 West
Coudersport, Pa 16915
Traveling West on Rt. 6, from red light in Coudersport at Sheetz, .07 miles on left across from Eulalia Cemetery, next to the Movie Galley.
Traveling East on RT. 6, from Port Alleghany, .02 miles past West Gate Inn on right, next to the Movie Galley.
February 27 – Northeast Region
PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center
126 PPL Drive
Hawley, PA 18428
From Hawley/Honesdale take US 6 east to the intersection with PPL Drive (0.3 miles past the intersection of US 6 and SR 590), turn right and follow signs to the ELC.
From Milford take US 6 west to the intersection with PPL Drive(1.0 miles past the intersection of US 6 and SR 507), turn left. Follow signs to the ELC.
From Scranton take I-84 east to Exit 17 (Hamlin, Newfoundland, SR 191), turn left (north)onto SR 191. At SR 590, (9.0 miles) turn right. At US 6 (1.7 miles) turn right. At PPL Drive (0.3 miles), turn right. Follow the signs to the ELC.
March 13 – Northwest Region
Brokenstraw Fish and Game
1001 Mead Run Rd.
Youngsville, PA 16371
Traveling west on Rt. 6 turn right on Mead Run Road. Travel approximately 1 mile the club is on the left. Mead Run Road is approximately .7 miles west of Youngsville.
Traveling east on Rt. 6 turn left on Mead Run Road. Travel approximately 1 mile the club is on the left. Mead Run Road is approximately 2 miles east of the Rt. 27 / Rt. 6 intersection in Pittsfield.
March 20 – Southwest Region
Richland Fire Department – Solomon Run Banquet Facility
Mt. Airy Drive
Johnstown, PA 15904
DIRECTIONS (From Johnstown and points south)
Travel Rt 219 northbound and take the Galleria Drive exit
Turn left at the top of Galleria Drive
Turn right at Solomon Run Road
Turn right at Mount Airy Drive
THE BANQUET FACILITY PARKING LOT IS ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE BUILDING.
Directions (From Ebensburg and points north)
Travel Rt 219 southbound and take the Galleria Drive exit
Turn right at Galleria Drive
Turn right at Solomon Run Road
Turn right at Mount Airy Drive
THE BANQUET FACILITY PARKING LOT IS ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE BUILDING
March 27 – Southcentral Region
Shippensburg State University Conference Center
500 Newburg Road
Shippensburg, PA 17257
FROM EAST OF SHIPPENSBURG: Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Exit 16/226 (Carlisle). Follow U.S. Route 11 north to I-81 South. Exit I-81 South at Exit 29 (King Street). Turn right at the end of the exit ramp onto PA 174. Travel 2 miles to a “T” intersection. Turn left onto King Street (U.S. Route 11). At the 6th traffic light, turn right onto North Earl Street. Proceed approximately 1.4 miles, during which North Earl Street becomes the Newburg Road (PA Route 696). Just past the football stadium on the right is the Conference Center, also on the right. The Conference Center is the rear portion of a large red brick building. Look for the sign in the front of the building. Parking is in the rear.
FROM WEST OF SHIPPENSBURG: Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Exit 15/201 (Blue Mountain). Turn left onto PA Route 997. At the “Y” intersection bear right onto route 696. In the town of Newburg, watch the signs carefully and stay on Route 696 (requires a left turn followed by an immediate right turn). Continue on Route 696 south another 8 miles toward Shippensburg. As the University stadium comes into view, the Conference Center is on the left and is the rear portion of a large red brick building, shared with the SU Foundation. Look for the sign in the front of the building. Parking is in the rear.
FROM NORTH OF SHIPPENSBURG: Take rural routes to I-81 and follow directions from North or use rural routes to PA turnpike and follow directions from West.
FROM SOUTH OF SHIPPENSBURG: Take I-81 north to Pennsylvania. Continue to exit 24 (Fayette Street). At exit ramp, turn left onto Route 696 and travel 2 miles to a “T” intersection. Turn left onto Fayette Street and proceed to another “T” intersection. Turn right onto King Street. At the 2nd traffic light, turn left onto North Earl Street. North Earl becomes the Newburg Road (PA Route 696). Proceed approximately 1.4 miles, just past the football stadium on the right, to the Conference Center, also on the right. The Conference Center is the rear portion of a large red brick building. Look for the sign in the front of the building. Parking is in the rear.
FROM THE PARKING LOT, the Open House is through the entrance off the parking lot and into the lobby on the first floor
April 10 – Southeast Region
Frackville American Legion
40 S. Mahanoy St.
Frackville, PA 17931
From Rt. 81, take exit 124B to merge onto S Lehigh Ave/PA-61 N and travel toward Frackville. In Frackville, turn right on Oak Street by the Turkey Hill. Take the first left on S. Mahanoy St.
These deer management open houses and the outreach information available at them were developed by a Deer Communications Working Group, which was created in 2007 to improve the agency’s efforts to explain deer management – and the need for it – to Pennsylvanians.
“This group has made tremendous progress in bringing the public up to speed on how and why we manage deer,” Roe explained. “They meet regularly and have developed displays, brochures, a new video and whitetail website, employee training and many other tools to help in the never-ending effort of explaining deer management to both the public and fellow employees. But despite all that has been accomplished in recent years, there is still much, much more to do.”
For more information about the agency’s deer management program, including a complete selection of the brochures being distributed at the open houses, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on “White-Tailed Deer” in the center of the homepage. This website features links to all of the brochures used in the open houses, all issues of the agency’s “Deer Chronicle,” many top-notch references to agency research and general information, deer photos and even an “Ask The Deer Biologist” section.