GAME COMMISSION PRAISES PASSAGE OF HOUSE BILL 2042
HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross today praised the state House of Representatives for passing Rep. Merle Phillips's bill to empower the agency to sell special licenses allowing hunters to take an additional wild turkey beyond two currently provided for as part of the general hunting license. The measure, House Bill 2042, passed the state House by a vote of 186-1, and currently awaits consideration by the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee.
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, a statewide organization with more than 25,000 members, has endorsed the bill.
"The creation of this license will allow Pennsylvania hunters the opportunity to buy a second license for a second turkey in the same season," said Ross, an avid turkey hunter. "If enacted, this will in no way impact hunters' current ability to harvest one spring and one fall turkey as part of their general hunting license privileges.
"I want to offer my thanks to Rep. Phillips for introducing this measure and to all the members who voted in favor of it."
The licenses for a second turkey are proposed to cost $20 for residents and $40 for non-residents. Revenues from the special licenses could be used to implement and fund the Game Commission's turkey management plan and further educate turkey hunters, thereby promoting the recreation and safe hunting practices.
Those wishing to take advantage of the license would be required to first secure a hunting license, and then apply for the new license for a second bird. The number of licenses allocated for a second turkey, as well as which seasons hunters would be permitted to take a second bird, will be established by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners and will take into consideration turkey populations in specific Wildlife Management Units.
Ross said that, if the legislation passes the Senate and is signed into law by Governor Edward G. Rendell, it is the intention of the Bureau of Wildlife Management to recommend to the Board of Game Commissioners that a second license be approved for the statewide spring gobbler season as soon as practical. He also stressed that the Bureau of Wildlife Management would continue to review data about the state's turkey population and make adjustments to its recommendations to the Board as necessary.
Ross noted that Rep. Phillips, a lifelong turkey hunter, has been actively involved in hunting and fishing issues and in the past has worked with the Game Commission to create special youth projects, including the recently completed youth spring turkey hunt.
For further hunting and trapping information, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us
). For information about wild turkeys, click on "Wildlife" then choose "Wild Turkey."