Many Issues to Be Taken up by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners

Antlerless license sales, overlapping archery bear season, CWD management among the list.

Antlerless White-Tailed Deer
Antlerless White-Tailed Deer
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission

Harrisburg, PA -( The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has taken a stance to support efforts to transfer to the Game Commission the authority to sell antlerless deer licenses, a responsibility that now lies with county treasurers statewide.

The motion to support the transfer was made by Commissioner Jay Delaney during the new-business portion of today’s meeting. It was approved unanimously by the board. The motion comes on the heels of an issue in Luzerne County, which is governed by home rule and does not have an elected treasurer.

Antlerless licenses were allocated at a slower pace in Luzerne County this license year. Many of the hunters who sent their applications there didn’t get licenses, while those who sent to other counties during the same timeframe got them. House Bill 2493 by state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne County, calls for transferring to the Game Commission the authority to sell antlerless deer licenses, and any transfer must be approved through legislation.

Delaney said the state’s sportsmen deserve reasonable assurances they’re being treated fairly, given that antlerless licenses are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Delaney said the Pennsylvania Game Commission is equipped and prepared to manage sales of antlerless deer licenses. Meanwhile, Commissioner Ralph Martone directed the commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Management to prepare a report on the feasibility of overlapping the archery deer and archery bear seasons, possibly during the last week of the archery deer season. The findings are to be brought to the Dec. 11 working group meeting.

Commissioner David Putnam asked the executive office to consider a special effort to better protect Pennsylvania’s bats, which have seen extreme losses due to white-nose syndrome. The Game Commission installs gates at caves and abandoned mines to protect hibernating bats, conducts habitat projects to make underground openings more inviting to bats, and tries to acquire important hibernacula as part of its efforts. But more could be done, and done faster, if the workload was spread among the agency, Putnam said. He asked the Executive Director R. Matthew Hough to review how efforts could be coordinated.

Commissioner Timothy Layton asked that staff explore the possibility of making Disease Management Area 2 – the only area of the state where chronic wasting disease has been detected in free- the ranging deer – its own Wildlife Management Unit. Layton said the change would lead to simplified hunting regulations in the area, and would allow the Game Commission to do away with the DMA 2 permit, while still executing a plan to slow the spread of CWD.

Commissioner Ron Weaner also recommended that the Game Commission consider opening a discussion that could include lobbying legislators to better confront the threat CWD poses. The discussion could include the oversight of captive cervids.

About the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC)

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is legally mandated to manage wildlife for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians, as well as all wildlife and the habitat that supports their existence. Pennsylvania’s Constitution and Game and Wildlife Code direct the Game Commission to protect, manage, and preserve wildlife and their habitat within the Commonwealth for the benefit of all people, including generations yet to come. Based on this direction, the Game Commission adopted the mission statement “to manage all wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats for current and future generations.”

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