Pa. Legislature might get involved in hog hunting
By Bob Frye
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013, 11:33 p.m.
This has been like a riddle with no answer. What makes a wild hog wild?
There's been no clear definition, but that might be changing.
State lawmakers this past week advanced two bills that would redefine the term “wild animals” to exclude boars and hogs. Senate bill 644 and House Bill 723 moved through the two chambers' respective game and fisheries committees.
They would essentially make hogs behind fences — for the sake of shooting preserves — livestock rather than wildlife and would take responsibility for their management away from the Game Commission.
Lawmakers are pushing the issue because the Game Commission has been preparing to put hog-hunting operations out of business.
In April, the agency's board is expected to give final approval to regulations that would “remove protection for feral swine and wild boar statewide, wherever found, in order to protect the natural resources of the Commonwealth, its traditional agricultural and forest products industries and mitigate threats to human health and safety.”
The new rules also would prohibit the importation, possession and release into the wild of feral swine and wild boar.
The intent is to get rid of hog-hunting operations which have, in some instances, lost animals into the wild, where they become destructive nuisances.
An undetermined number of hogs already are in the wild in Pennsylvania, having originated from escaped or released pen-raised boards, commission officials have said.
The idea of doing away with fenced hog hunting is too extreme given that such escapes are “very sporadic, transitory and rare,” though, said Rep. Matt Baker, the Tioga County Republican behind House Bill 723.
His bill is meant as a compromise, he said.
“I think this brings a balance to properly regulating these animals while at the same time allowing these hunting preserves to have these animals in their midst for hunting,” Baker said.
The Game Commission is glad to finally be getting a definition of what is and isn't a wild hog, said board member Ralph Martone of New Castle.
But that likely won't stop it from acting on its proposed bans, he added.
Baker said his bill, as well as the one sponsored by the politically powerful Sen. Joseph Scarnatti, has been discussed with the legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett's office. He said he's optimistic one or both will pass this legislative session.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outdoors notices: Dec. 8, 2013
- Outdoor notices: Dec. 7, 2013
- Outdoors notebook: Public attitudes toward wildlife revealed
- Opening day a quiet one for area deer hunters
- Reported kills scarce across Westmoreland, Somerset, Fayette counties as deer hunting season begins