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Friday, July 22, 2016


Deer Management Working Group to begin meeting in August.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is bringing several hunting groups together to expand the agency’s goal to improve deer hunting in Pennsylvania.

The groups will work collaboratively as the “Deer Management Working Group” to discuss ideas and develop workable solutions to benefit Pennsylvania’s hunters.

“If you look at our more than 940,000 license buyers, nearly all of them are deer hunters, and many of them hunt only deer,” says Game Commissioner Tim Layton, of Windber, who is part of the working group. “Deer hunting is an important part of the lives of so many Pennsylvanians, and it’s important their voices be heard.”

The Deer Management Working Group brings together a collection of Pennsylvanians who value the quality of the state’s deer hunting, and gives them a voice in helping to shape the future of deer management and oversee the implementation of management practices.

“Pennsylvania is a deer-hunting state,” says Deer Management Working Group member Kip Adams, a biologist with the Quality Deer Management Association.

Citing QDMA’s Whitetail Report 2016, Adams points to the facts in explaining why Pennsylvania is one of the best states in which to pursue deer.

“Pennsylvania is No. 5 in the nation for the number of bucks harvested per square mile, No. 5 in the number of does harvested per square mile, and No. 4 in productivity,” says Adams. “The stats are clear, Pennsylvania is one of the best states to hunt deer.”

The task of the Deer Management Working group is to identify how to make deer hunting even better.

Members of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation, the Quality Deer Management Association, the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania and the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania have joined the working group and will work alongside of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners’ deer subcommittee and Game Commission staff in so doing.

The working group is slated to meet for the first time in August.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the working group not only provides an opportunity for the agency to gather input on deer hunting from across a broad cross-section, it allows that dialogue to continue as the deer-management plan is implemented.

Plans also are underway for developing the next deer-management plan, slated to become effective in 2018.

“Public input has always been an important part of the Game Commission’s process for managing wildlife,” Hough said. “When the agency updated its deer-management plan about 15 years ago, advisory committees much like this one were formed to make sure no opinion was overlooked. When that plan was updated, more recently, the goals were presented at seven separate open houses where the public was able to show its strong support for the goals.

“Our commitment is to continue and expand that collaboration, developing it to make it the best it can be,” Hough said. “And since there are no plans to ever disband the new Deer Management Working Group, and its members will continue to meet quarterly to discuss deer management, the working group will provide an opportunity for continual and lasting input that can only improve deer hunting in Pennsylvania.”

The working group will meet monthly during its first four months, with members being informed about the Game Commission’s existing process for managing the deer herd in balance with available habitat, and advised of other pressing issues including the emergence of chronic wasting disease and managing deer in more-urban areas.

“We will also open discussions on how the agency can provide more technical information to private landowners to help them better manage their land to improve deer hunting,” said Hough.

Educating private landowners to help them enhance deer hunting on their land is a relatively new direction for the agency, but it makes sense, Hough said, since most of the state is privately owned.

The working group will visit areas to view forest habitat and better understand deer-management challenges.

Ultimately, the group will formalize its goals and vision, then continue to meet quarterly thereafter.

The working group’s initially identified goals are to: provide continual feedback on the effectiveness of the deer-management plan; inform working group members about the past and present methods used to manage the state’s deer herd; develop strategies to improve deer hunting in Pennsylvania; identify questions that need to be addressed; identify other methods the Game Commission can implement to help landowners improve deer hunting on their land; and to develop a formal process for delivering information from each committee member to their constituents throughout.

Minutes of each meeting will be posted on the agency’s website so other deer-hunting enthusiasts will have the opportunity to learn more about the subject matter discussed at the meeting, and allow all hunters the opportunity to voice their opinion back to the agency by writing or sending an e-mail.

“The Deer Management Working Group is not a policy-making committee,” said Brian Hoover, president of the Board of Game Commissioners. “However, we hope the work this group takes on and the recommendations it provides will help the agency in developing new programs and policies to further improve deer hunting in this great state.”


Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah guess what there is no deer in pa anymore to have some lameass committee sit in an office and decide what to do. Seems to me hunters have been bitching about the deer population since they started their deer eradication program 15 years ago.

Anonymous said...

And they've been bitching long before that.
It's a Pa tradition.

One one hand the large rack deer coming out are better than ever. On the other hand you have to hunt, and work hard to get them, but you also have much more time and opportunity to get them, but that doesn't square with people that want to hunt 3 days a year, and get a deer.

Prior to the deer eradication program I use to listen to hunters complain that they would see a dozen deer a day and never see a buck. Then the "buck" hunters would call anyone that took a doe in the doe season a girl.

Complaining about the deer program is far easier than hunting. Always has been always will be.