DEER MANAGEMENT SERIES, NO. 1:

OVERVIEW OF THE PENNSYLVANIA GAME

COMMISSION'S DEER REDUCTION PROGRAM

By John Eveland

April 25, 2014

1. A few state employees have changed the mission of the PGC to fit their personal agenda.

2. The deer management program has been redesigned to serve the interests of foresters and environ-
mentalists – not just instead of serving the interests of sportsmen for recreational hunting, but
at the expense of sportsmen and recreational hunting.

3. This change in philosophy began in 1998 at the request of DCNR by eliminating the traditional, scientific maximum sustained yield (MSY) method of deer management (that had made Pennsylvania one of the top two deer hunting states in the nation), and replacing it with a new, value-laden style called ecosystem management (that favored nongame species of birds and mammals, wildflowers, and native shrubs).

4. This action represents a violation of Title 34 State Law: Section 322(c)(13).

5. Virtually no benefits were achieved by the action:


• not to science.
• not to the forest ecosystem.
• not to commercial forestry.
• not to biodiversity (nongame birds and mammals, wildflowers, and native shrubs).
• not to deer health.
• not to society and the commonwealth's economy.
• and not to sportsmen and recreational hunting.

6. The need to increase forest tree-seedling regeneration was a principal reason PGC used to justify
permanent reduction of the herd. However, after independent scientific assessment, the forest
regeneration theory has proven to be a myth – false science.

7. The negative impacts to the natural ecosystem, society, and economy are severe, unjustified, and
increasing yearly. The deer herd has been reduced to nearly unhuntable numbers in some areas. Upwards of 200,000 sportsmen have stopped hunting as a result of deer reduction, and the rate of youth-hunter recruitment is declining and unable to replace the loss of adults. Since 2001, over $4 billion has been lost in Commonwealth economic activity due to deer reduction which is increasing at the rate of $285-415 million each year. Deer reduction has become a crisis that likely represents the greatest conservation mistake in the over-100-year history of the Game Commission.

8. This crisis must now be resolved. No permanent solution will result from conciliatory remedial
actions by the Commission. Considering that the agency has violated its public trust, it has
become the responsibility of the Joint Legislature:


• To return the agency to its legislatively-directed mission through passage of five deer bills.
• To oversee future actions of the agency toward assuring compliance with Title 34 State Law.

Upcoming articles in this Deer Management Series will provide insight into whether the Game Commission's deer-reduction program is based on incompetence or deception.

 

 

 

 

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