Formation of state advisory council pleases
Formation of state advisory council pleases outdoorsmen
By Bob Frye, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Sportsmen were all abuzz the week before Christmas, trying to figure out what was to come of a mysterious "deer management stakeholders meeting" called by Gov. Tom Corbett's office.
Roughly a dozen groups were invited to the Capital. None of them -- including the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania, Quality Deer Management Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, among others -- seemed to know what the meeting was about.
It turns out, it wasn't about deer. In fact, when some tried to talk about deer, they were stopped.
"The purpose was primarily to discuss issues and the formation of a Sportsmen's Advisory Council, pretty much along the lines of the previous incarnations of the same," said Denny Fillmore, the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs representative at the meeting.
Gov. Tom Ridge had a similar council; so, too, did Gov. Ed Rendell. They generally served as a conduit for taking grassroots concerns from sportsmen to the Governor and other elected officials, and recommended candidates for the Pennsylvania Game and Fish and Boat commissions.
Corbett's team said months ago the current Governor had plans to have a council, too. As recently as a few days prior to this meeting, though, spokesman Gary Miller said that while those plans were moving forward, "no announcement is imminent."
Seems the process is moving quickly. That was taken as good news by most of those at the meeting, said Don Heckman, representative of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
"There is a need for a sportsmen's advisory council, just because there are so many independent sportsmen's groups in the state," said Don Heckman, a board member with the state chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation who attended the Harrisburg meeting.
"I think it's a good idea to have a council of all these different interests that can come together and work on issues and come up with solutions."
Fillmore said sportsmen also recommended "that we need a Youth Advisory Council, as well."
To get things rolling, Corbett must issue executive orders creating the councils. People to sit on both will need to be found, as will a sportsmen's advisor, one person who will coordinate the activities of the councils.
But the meeting at least made clear that sportsmen are behind the idea, Heckman said.
"Things are moving in the right direction," he said. "I think it was pretty positive."