Hunters Slam Commission

At yesterday’s meeting of the Game Commission, hunters pretty much slammed the commission for mismanaging the deer herd.
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Hunters rained down their frustration yesterday on the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, over what they perceive as deer numbers that have been reduced too far.

Nearly half of the 44 speakers at the capacity-crowd hearing pretty much agreed with Milton’s Edward Buffington, who stated, “We hunt every spare moment we have and we’re just not seeing the deer we did. A healthy deer herd is not one that includes no deer, that’s not even a herd.”

Kerry White, of York, said, “The deer situation is pathetic. You have to stop this never-ending doe season,” eliminate special deer hunting seasons like the new fall muzzleloader season and allow each hunter to harvest only one deer per year.

Do you think the Commission will listen?

If they don’t, what is our recourse?

Perhaps most telling was this:

Bill Young, of Mifflinburg, told commissioners that the annual buck-antler contest among members of the Buffalo Valley Sportsmen’s Association, which normally sees 30-40 entries, had only one pair of antlers entered from the 2005-06 hunting seasons; of 7,200 factory workers in his area who each put $1 into a biggest-buck lottery, none shot a buck; and “a lot of hunting camps in our area didn’t even open their doors this year.”

You won’t see a Doe tag on my back next year. You might not even see a hunting license on me. The Commission depends on the revenue it generates with hunting license fees; if we don’t buy tags, where will the money come from?

The Agenda for the rest of the meeting is here.

10 Comments on “Hunters Slam Commission

  1. I have to put my trust in the Game Commission that they are using the very best deer management theories and policies based on science rather than a bunch of whining hunters.
    In fact, it is somewhat disturbing that the agency is essentially supported by the hunting/licensbuying public that for the most part, does not know “jack” about wildlife management. The PGC will probably be forced to cave to it’s “customer” for better or worse.

    I like to see deer as much as the nice guy and I admit to missing the “old days” but just think about it.

  2. I must be more cynical than ErikT…trust no government agency until they earn it.

    But I do echo his concerns that this quasi-governmental agency funded primarily through license dollars is a disturbing scenario.

    Until a better scheme is put in place, we need to live with what we have. Right now, that is a deer management program based on guess and conjecture, with a concurrent buck/doe season, resulting in a drastic reduction in the deer herd. Not that I am closed-minded, but offer up evidence to the contrary?

  3. I think the PGC needs to address the issue of native, wild cougars, pumas, mountain lions & black panthers that continue to roam Penns Woods….from Lake Erie to Lancaster County.
    Would like to hear from anyone who has had a sighting in last 75 years.
    Contact me at

  4. If there are no deer, then why can’t we hunt on Sunday? Most days just turn out to be long nature walks anyway (or short naps under the trees).

    Roger on the hunting camp comment on Bill Young! We had camps in the Tidioute area (WMU 2F) that didn’t open this year, too.

  5. Many hunters feel credibility is the issue with the PGC deer program. Before Gary Alt, before the combined buck/doe and unlimited antlerless regs, there were more deer. When the PGC/DCNR can present incontrovertible evidence that “deer destroy the forest”, hunters will buy it. Take a ride along Laurel Run Road, about 1 mile west of Elk Hill, and you will see an area DCNR fenced about 8 yrs. ago. Observe tree growth on both sides of the fence. See any evidence of new saplings? I did not. But ask DCNR whether acid rain, gypsy moths, porcupines, rabbits and other factors might be responsible, and they don’t want to discuss those. Yes deer do eat some seedlings, but how many? Their primary diet is acorns, buds, apples and some farm crops. DCNR cannot control acid rain and other pollutants, so the poor deer take the blame (or the hit). Disgusting.

  6. I think the PGC needs to address the issue of native, wild cougars, pumas, mountain lions & black panthers that continue to roam Penns Woods….from Lake Erie to Lancaster County.
    Would like to hear from anyone who has had a sighting in last 75 years.
    Contact me at

    John, about four years ago, while hunting spring gobbler in Pike County, deep in the Delaware State Forest, I crossed paths with a black cat, almost as large as a bear. Had I not seen the tell-tale tail, my first reaction was it must be a bear. After all, what else is that big and black in Pennsylvania’s woods? This cat was huge, and it moved so gracefully; truly an amazing sight. I didn’t shoot a turkey that spring, but that was one of my most memorable hunting experiences.

  7. It is not the Game Commission’s responsibility as an agency to ensure that the deer population is such that (most) hunters are able to sight x number of deer per day/season. However, they should manage the deer herd in a responsible manner to ensure a healthy herd in balance with a healthy eco-system. I guess that’s the hard part. Other than deer management what about small game? Ruffed grouse? I believe the PGC should spend more management dollars and time on game animals other than deer.

  8. Fast forward 5 years, when Fuzzie Jr. starts hunting….

    Fuzzie Junior: Dad, what’s a grouse?
    Fuzzie: Son, it is the Pennsylvania State bird.
    Junior: Do we hunt them?
    Fuzzie: Not any more son, there aren’t any in the wild.
    Junior: Why not?
    Fuzzie: I don’t know son…the Game Commission just didn’t manage them or any of the other game they were in charge of.
    Junior: Why not?
    Fuzzie: I don’t know son. Come on, let’s go to the range and shoot or let’s go to the river and fish.

  9. Fuzzie, at first blush I thought you made a mistake, i.e. your son really asked, “Dad, what is a deer,the state animal”. Grouse cannot be managed like turkeys or pheasants. Biologists will confirm that grouse are cyclic. It is generally accepted that the grouse population peaks about every 8 years, and conversly, hits a low ebb 8 years later. The reason for this is unknown, but is thought to be nature’s way of making this food source available to predators when their populations are stressed.

  10. Well, Gene is partially correct in that grouse cannot be managed like deer or turkeys but HABITAT can certainly be managed! It’s called CLEAR CUTTING! It took the PGC 30 years of study at the Barrens Game Lands near State College where there is no grouse hunting permitted under study to conclude that managed clear cutting vastly increases grouse populations….. Duhhhh. Let’s cut some wood folks!

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