Deer hearing in Harrisburg draws emotion
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HARRISBURG — This was to be expected, really.
Six bills that would change how deer are managed in Pennsylvania have been introduced in the state House of Representatives and referred to the House's game and fisheries committee for review.
That committee held a hearing on the bills at the Capitol on Wednesday. It played out in front of a room filled to capacity with lawmakers and hunters.
None of that surprised Rep. Martin Causer (R-Potter County), the committee chairman.
“I can tell you that, as legislators, deer management is probably the one topic we hear the most about from our constituents. At least I do,” Causer said.
What they're hearing is that there's a lot of unhappiness out there, said Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks County). Sportsmen don't believe their concerns are being heard, he said.
“The sportsmen out there feel like they're lost,” Maloney said.
The commission is aware some hunters are upset, largely over what they perceive as too small of a deer herd, said Cal DuBrock, director of the commission's bureau of wildlife management. That's not unusual, he said. Hunters expressed the same concerns in the 1990s, even as deer populations were increasing, he said.
The reality is, while populations can vary across areas, deer harvests and hunter success rates have remained steady for about two decades, DuBrock said.
“We couldn't do that if we were running the deer herd into the ground,” he said.
There are a lot of people satisfied with the state's deer management program, he added, citing surveys of hunters and state residents.
Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Northampton County) took exception to that, citing a commission-sponsored telephone survey of Pennsylvania residents selected at random. A survey that asks people who don't hunt about deer management, then weighs their responses equally with those of hunters, is “absurd” and “embarrassing,” Emrick said.
“Who are the experts? The hunters are the experts,” he said.
Two sportsmen's groups also offered testimony. Randy Santucci of Pittsburgh, president of the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania, voiced support for all of the bills before the committee save for House Resolution 576, which urges the commission to investigate the possibility of opening the state's firearms deer season on the Saturday after Thanksgiving rather than the following Monday.
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.
- Experts call for deer hunters to step up game
- Coyotes proliferate despite year-round hunting
- Frye: County’s sport, travel and outdoors show lacked crowds
- Musky program achieves new standards
- New wildlife conservation officers heading to Western Pennsylvania
- Most cities likely to host coyote populations