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Outdoors notebook: License sales see positive trend

Bob Frye
| Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, 8:30 p.m.

Efforts to convince people who bought multi-year fishing licenses in the past to buy again largely appear to have worked.

Steve Kralik, chief of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's bureau of outreach, education and marketing, said the commission sent postcard reminders to 21,837 lapsed multi-year license buyers this year.

As of July 7, 70.7 percent purchased a new license. About 63 percent bought another multi-year tag, while some opted for an annual license and others a senior lifetime license.

The commission is debating whether to do another postcard mailing, executive director John Arway said.

Board member Eric Hussar of Union County, a business owner, said the effort to stay in touch with former customers makes sense.

“It's a part of business. We should do it again next year, the next five years. It's a strategy,” he said.

Overall, licenses sales through the mid-point of this year are running above the long-term average, said Bernie Matscavage, director of the commission's bureau of administration.

Elk money

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $62,143 in grants to support 24 Pennsylvania projects.

Some of the money is helping projects that benefit elk and their habitat. It's being used to reclaim wildlife habitat on state game land 100 in Centre County, home to an expanding elk herd, and to pay for 12 GPS collars for monitoring elk movements, for example.

Other portions are going toward introducing children to hunting and conservation. Youth field day, hunter education challenge, trapshooting and other programs in Armstrong, Crawford, Fayette, Greene, Westmoreland Washington counties are benefitting.

The Wildlife Leadership Academy, which conducts five week-long camps aimed at turning teens into “conservation ambassadors,” is receiving funds, too.

The money comes from banquets, membership drives and other events statewide.

Plant sanctuary

Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources designated a site in Forward Township, Allegheny County, as a wild plant sanctuary.

Known as Beckets Run Woodlands, the property is “characterized by steep wooded ravines, cool headwaters, and ephemeral spring wildflowers.” It's the 16th plant sanctuary in the state.

The designation recognizes the commitment of landowners Raul Chiesa and Janet Sredy “to restore their land through conservation-based forest stewardship practices,” the department said.

Once notable for its vandalism and illegal off-road riding, the property today is home to deer hunting, anti-invasive species and no trespassing programs.

Wasting disease

The National Deer Alliance is keeping tabs on the rules regarding captive deer.

The group hosted a special working group in St. Louis to review the USDA “voluntary national chronic wasting disease herd certification program” and its associated standards, which are under review.

“The charge of this working group, which is made up of conservation organizations, state wildlife experts, and top scientists, is to serve as the voice of deer hunters and others concerned with wild deer health,” reads a press release.

Steelhead access

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioners acquired access to 1,160 feet of Elk Creek in Erie County for $20,000 at their recent meeting. It's located off Elk Creek Road across the stream from Girard Borough Park and will allow anglers to seek steelhead.

Bob Frye is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via @bobfryeoutdoors.

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