MANAGEMENT SERIES, NO. 20:
In 2010, Members of PGC's Board
a New Deer-Management Plan
During the past century, the Pennsylvania Game Commission
has been a vital agency regarding the conservation (wise use)
of the Commonwealth's renewable wildlife natural resources
and the preservation of ecosystems rich with a diversity of
nongame wildlife. This has been the agency's chartered mission
as directed by Title 34 State Law and the Pennsylvania Constitution.
However, the beginning of the new century ushered in a new
Commission deer-management policy that has not proven to be
in the best interest of those whom the agency is chartered
to serve, the general citizenry, or even the Commission itself.
Therefore, a new policy must be designed and implemented toward
resolving the current deer-management dilemma, and toward
securing the long-term integrity of the agency, the quality
of Pennsylvania's wildlife resources, and the tradition of
sport hunting throughout the new century.
early 2010, members of the agency's Board of Commissioners
requested that John Eveland prepare for the Board recommendations
for a new deer management program. Toward this end, Eveland
designed a new deer management plan and presented it to the
BOC on March 7, 2010. After contemplating the task, Eveland
realized that his newly proposed approach had many similarities
to the traditional program that had been designed and implemented
by the previous generation of wildlife biologists and game
managers decades ago. This was no coincidence, in that prior
to 1998 the deer management program consisted of a scientifically
designed, data-driven method that had made Pennsylvania one
of the top deer-hunting states in the nation. The success
of this previous traditional program was the result of the
expertise of wildlife biologists who were dedicated to serving
sportsmen, the resource, and the chartered mission of the
agency. Many were Eveland's professional peers and personal
friends. Eveland's new plan, however, was designed to create
an even better deer-management and deer-hunting condition
than had existed for years prior to herd reduction.
Plan. Following are the fundamental elements of the
2010, nine-page, scientifically designed and socioeconomically
sensitive plan – Recommended Pennsylvania Deer Management
(1) Redesign the deer-management program to adhere to Title
34 State Law.
(2) Secure a new agency goal "to provide the maximum
sustained yield of deer for recreational hunting."
(3) End the concurrent season concept and return to separate
buck (two-week) and doe (2-3 day) seasons.
(4) Scientifically determine forest carrying capacities,
and deer numbers and densities within each WMU.
(5) Scientifically adjust antlerless allocations to meet
carrying capacities of the forest.
(6) Increase carrying capacities with a new, state-of-the-art
habitat enhancement plan (designed by Eveland).
(7) End antler restrictions and eliminate AR impacts to
(8) End the indiscriminate use of DMAP, especially on public
(9) Implement an effective deer-management plan for urban
(10) Reconfigure WMUs based on county boundaries.
(11) Improve public relations and return trust and confidence
in the agency.
(12) Restore 200,000 sportsmen who have been lost to the
ranks due to deer reduction.
(13) Create a next-generation of youth hunters.
(14) Halt the Commonwealth's loss of $415 million per year
due to deer reduction.
(15) Implement targeted and necessary deer and forest research
toward improving deer management.
Eveland's 2010 deer management plan was designed to adhere
to the Title 34 mission "to serve the interest of sportsmen
for recreational hunting", and to respect the interests
of foresters, biodiversity, and the general citizenry of the
Commonwealth. The plan would have permitted the Board of Game
Commissioners to internally resolve the deer-management crisis.
However, the Board could not muster a majority of votes to
halt the current program and implement these new remedial