From today's Public Opinion
Outdoors with Mark Sturtevant
Another deer season is just a month and a half away and many hunters are wondering if it is worth buying a license and heading into the woods. Pennsylvania Game Commission continues on its mission to reduce the state's deer herd and, sadly, they seem to be doing a great job.
Many of us have spent a lot of days afield these past few seasons and had very few encounters with the whitetail that was once quite prolific here. I remember stories of hundreds of deer seen in fields all over Pennsylvania, stories that made me hope one day to have the chance to hunt here. After 17 seasons I have witnessed the precipitous decline in the quality of deer hunting in south central Pennsylvania.
Recently I have read some interesting information published by John Eveland, who has made his own scientific investigation of PGC's deer management plan. Eveland asserts that the agency is violating state law in its efforts to radically reduce the deer herd to improve things for the timber industry and "improve biodiversity." He makes a good case, citing Title 34 Section 322 (c) (13) which states, "It is the duty of the Commission to serve the interest of sportsmen for recreational hunting."
That is pretty clear language and I find it hard to believe that the agency and the legislators who empower them can twist that meaning to serve the interests of the timber industry, DCNR, snowmobilers or any other user group or body that has interests contrary to those of Pennsylvania's hunters. Hunters fund
PGC and they are supposed to work for the folks who pay them. Clearly that is not what they are doing.
If you want to read about the work Mr. Eveland has done, and I recommend that you do if you hunt in Pennsylvania, visit the Allegheny County Sportsman's League website at http://www.acsl-pa.org.
There you will find the documents, Mr. Eveland's distinguished biography and a wealth of evidence offering proof that the decline in our deer hunting is not accident, or folly, but a planned attack on our hunting heritage.
I expect to hunt a week in Ohio this fall, and though I look forward to that trip all year long, I am sad to admit that that week may be all the deer hunting I do this season. The past several years have proven that the public lands I frequent no longer have decent deer populations.
The debate about PGC's deer management has raged on for a long time, and the situation continues to worsen. It is time for our lawmakers to act, to replace those who work contrary to their legal mandate to "serve the interest of sportsmen for recreational hunting."
It is up to us to remind them of that fact, over and over again, until they do something to return Pennsylvania to the kind of deer hunting state they tell stories about.