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MEMORANDUM



Posted:
January 5, 2016 03:46 PM

From:
Senator Mario Scavello

To:
All Senate members

Subject:
Leashed Tracking Dogs


In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Game Code, providing an exemption to allow for the use of a leashed tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to assist in recovering an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.

Currently under the Pennsylvania Game Code, it is unlawful for any person to make use of a dog in any manner to hunt or take big game, other than wild turkey during the fall season, or to permit a dog under a person’s ownership or control to pursue big game. It is important to note that this legislation would not change this prohibition, rather it would assist in the tracking of the harvested game.

As sportsmen know, it can sometimes be very difficult to track a wounded or harvested deer that may have traveled some distance, especially in areas of varied terrain or when weather conditions are poor. The use of properly trained and controlled tracking dogs can prove instrumental in recovering a mortally wounded animal, and greatly decrease the chances of leaving deceased white-tailed deer unrecovered in our Commonwealth’s woods and wild lands. This simple and humane proposed change in the law will be of great benefit to both our sporting community and one of our most valued natural resources, the white-tailed deer.

The use of leashed tracking dogs are allowed in approximately 35 states, six of which surround Pennsylvania. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation which allows Pennsylvania hunters access to the same ethical game recovery tool that most of the nation’s hunters already have.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or [email protected]. Thank you for your consideration.
 

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I actually got an email back from one if them the other day (may have been him) saying that legislation was being drafted to allow this. This was after I emailed all of them saying we needed it.
 

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I can't for the life of me understand why bills like this have run into so much opposition. It is a no brainer. There are supposedly pro hunting legislators that oppose these type bills.
 

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dpms said:
I can't for the life of me understand why bills like this have run into so much opposition. It is a no brainer. There are supposedly pro hunting legislators that oppose these type bills.
I sure hope this will gain some traction. No reason not to have it in PA.
 

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I don't understand why more people aren't proactive with these things. On the Facebook hunting pages you see people giving illegal advice to track deer with dogs all of the time. Then they get mad if you tell them it is illegal. In the same amount of time it took to give the illegal advice and to complain about your advice, they could have emailed legislators to support it becoming legal.
 

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Much of the opposition for blood tracking dogs, stems from the same mindset that opposes change, period.

Like opposition towards MYH, more youth seasons, additional SH, use of semi-autos, air rifles and so on, it just comes naturally to some people to oppose anything different than what we've had here in PA.

Even if such things have been the norm elsewhere for years and considered perfectly acceptable.

If "we didn't have it here - we don't need it", is the response I've heard numerous times over the years when discussing such issues.

Several years ago at a meeting in Johnstown, Andy Bensing came with his blood tracking dog and a discussion was had outside during a break.

More than one person expressed opposition to the idea of allowing dogs to assist in finding wounded big game, claiming it was just an excuse to let dogs "run down" deer.

I pointed out Andy's dog, which IIRC weighs about 15-20lbs, as they were standing right next to us. Asked the loudest opponent of tracking dogs, how many dogs that size, would be needed to "run down" a deer.

 

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So are these owners actually going to keep their dogs on a leash while tracking the wounded whitetail or let em off the leash to chase other deer besides the wounded deer.Isnt there a law on the books about dogs chasing deer.?
 

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To:
All Senate members

Subject:
LEASHED Tracking Dogs


In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Game Code, providing an exemption to allow for the use of a LEASHED tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to assist in recovering an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.
There, perhaps this will help?
 

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It is the owner of the leashed tracking dog we're talking about, that volunteers to bring his or her tracking dog out to assist in finding wounded game, not the hunter.
 

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Tracking dogs such as a DD are deer broke and are actually tracking the blood scent on a lead with a tracking collar. They are taught to work methodically and can be put in a down at any point by their handler for a rest or to let the handler look for blood. It's my understanding these dogs know the difference between a wounded deer that will live and a dead deer.

That being said any dog can be taught to track if the hunter/handler takes the time to do so. But I would think most dogs could follow a wounded deer with no previous training and follow the track farther than the average hunter.

If your interest in tracking dogs read those that track with a bringsel. I personally would love to see this bill go through and would be glad to use my DD to help fellow hunters find their buck of a lifetime or help a junior hunter recover their first deer. I just enjoy watching my pup learn and like to see more experienced dogs work.
 

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257bob said:
So are these owners actually going to keep their dogs on a leash while tracking the wounded whitetail or let em off the leash to chase other deer besides the wounded deer.Isnt there a law on the books about dogs chasing deer.?
Yes there is, and anyone that is willing to kill someones pet over the chance that it is "running" a precious deer, is pretty worthless in my books. I can almost understand caught and killed a deer, or is running free non-stop and doing it relentlessly, but a dog that happens to get loose once.... Ridiculous.

But that has nothing to do with this bill.
 

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I would support this bill completely. I would also hope severe penalties would be in place for those who abuse it by allowing their dogs to chase.
 

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257bob said:
Thanks but you know the hunter is gonna let his dog off the leash come on were talking Pa. here.
Well right now a hunter can go take his house dog for a walk off the leash.
 

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Don't need to add any rules as it is already illegal for dogs to chase big game. Just need to allow leashed dogs to track wounded animals.
 

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Got a response from Senator Bartolotta's office.

Good Morning Craig:



Thank you for taking the time to contact Senator Camera Bartolotta. She appreciates you taking the time to contact her and express your thoughts on issues that are of importance to you.



As you stated in your email, in the near future, Senator Mark Scavello plans to introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Game Code, providing an exemption to allow for the use of a leashed tracking dog to track white-tailed deer to assist in recovering an animal which has been legally harvested or wounded.



Active in the sportsmen community, Senator Bartolotta has signed on as a cosponsor of this bill that would allow for the use of properly trained and controlled tracking dogs to track a wounded white-tailed deer in our Commonwealth’s woods and wild lands.



Again, thank you for contacting Senator Bartolotta and providing her the benefit of your views. If you wish to discuss this bill in further detail or would like an update on this legislation as it moves through the legislative process please do not hesitate to contact me directly.



Best,

Megan
 

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257bob said:
Thanks but you know the hunter is gonna let his dog off the leash come on were talking Pa. here.
That guy probably already does it.
Lets face it, letting a dog loose to run deer in rifle season is just asking for a dead dog. And during the archery seasons, small game is in anyway so dogs are already in the woods and if someone really wants to cheat the rules, it's already quite possible.

The potential benefit, even if it's a very small number, of preventing dead but lost deer is worth the risk that someone will cheat. I've been around the guys who have deer recovery dogs in the midwest and they WILL help recover deer that no human would find other than by accident. To quote the handler I knew "If that deer is dead, we WILL find it. If we don't find it, it ain't dead."
 
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