Outdoors notebook: Pa.'s growing elk herd outpacing habitat gains
The Pennsylvania Game Commission's new elk biologist, Jeremy Banfield, is going to have an interesting job on his hands.
A native of the Rochester, N.Y., area, Banfield was most recently working as a wildlife biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He's now living in DuBois with his wife and 2-year-old son.
He's going to be dealing with an elk herd that's growing, and not necessarily in the right areas. The state's elk herd is estimated at 833 animals. That number — a minimum count — is up from last year's 824.
But “the habitat is not increasing at the same rate as the elk herd, so that presents some challenges,” said Chris Rosenberry, head of the commission's deer and elk section.
The subpopulation that's taken up residence in the Weedville area is especially causing problems. The commission wants to tackle that before it winds up with an unwanted “petting zoo environment,” said executive director Carl Roe.
In an attempt to address those problems, the commission has allocated 86 elk licenses this year and is trying to direct hunters at the problem animals.
Westmoreland County is without a waterways conservation officer.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission had two full-time officers in the county. But one, Jim Vatter, retired. The other, Tom Crist, has been promoted to assistant regional manager of the commission's southwest region office.
Deputies and officers from surrounding counties are filling the void until the officers are replaced. That may be awhile, though. Because of budget constraints, the commission has canceled plans to train a class of officers to save the $1 million that would require.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and six other groups demanding the Environmental Protection Agency ban ammunition containing lead components.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors..
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 â 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.