Sensing the Reality of Deer Reduction, Foresters and

Environmentalists Circled like Sharks around a Sinking Ship

By John Eveland

June 17, 2014

Before DCNR "purchased" its first Green Certification Award in 1998 from the German-based Forest Stewardship Council, FSC's auditor (Mr. Bryon Shissler) and DCNR's chief forester agreed to make the annual award contingent on the long-term reduction of the state's deer herd. Starting in 1999, anti-deer foresters and environmentalists initiated a series of events toward exacerbating and perpetuating the deer-reduction program and advancing their biodiversity and ecosystem-management agendas. PGC complied.

In 1999, Sierra Club and Audubon co-sponsored a Conference on the Impact of Deer on the Biodiversity and Economy of the State of Pennsylvania. Quoting: "The truth is that we humans have knocked the natural system completely out of balance." Speakers included Calvin DuBrock and five members of the Deer Management Working Group (Scot Williamson, Bryon Shissler, Susan Stout, Cindy Dunn, and Ben Moyer) whom PGC appointed to devise an "unbiased" deer management plan. Gary Alt gave the keynote speech.

From 2001-04, Audubon wrote a deer-reduction master plan (Managing White-tailed Deer in Forest Habitat from an Ecosystem Perspective) to promote their concept of ecosystem management – to restore natural ecosystems, birds, other wildlife and their habitats...including native wildflowers. Participants included Cindy Dunn, Bryon Shissler, Ben Moyer, Tim Schaeffer, and Susan Stout. Audubon acknowledged PGC participants: "We are grateful to Robert Boyd, Calvin DuBrock, Chris Rosenberry, and Vernon Ross".

In 2004, The Nature Conservancy and DCNR's chief forester, Dan Devlin, designed a 500,000-acre system of old growth forests in Pennsylvania to be achieved through deer reduction. The plan concluded: Reducing Pennsylvania's deer population will likely require a long-term political process. This will not be easy.

By 2005, Bryon Shissler, Gary Alt, Tim Schaeffer, and Ben Moyer had organized their Ecosystem Management Project – a series of newsletters and lectures with its stated goal being: "to assist state agencies and hunters in their goal of balancing the number of deer with their natural habitats." Also, Bryon Shissler testified before the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee to encourage deer reduction, stating: "We are not suggesting that people within the Game Commission or hunters are bad people we need a wildlife agency that represents all the people not just deer hunters.

A PA Biodiversity Partnership was created to promote the conservation of native species and their habitats. Quoting: "Deer represent a major threat to biodiversity. There is much we don't know. Waiting for this information before reversing damaging patterns can be detrimental." Members included: Carl Roe and Cal DuBrock, Audubon's Cindy Dunn, foresters Ken Kane and Blaine Puller, Ben Moyer, and Melody Zullinger.

Dan Devlin held a deer-reduction forum in 2009 entitled "Monitoring Deer Effects on Forest Ecosystems in Pennsylvania State Forests." In step with Audubon, DCNR changed from "maximum sustained yield" to Audubon's "ecosystem management" philosophy. Authors included Chris Rosenberry and Bryon Shissler.

Bryon Shissler conducted a Pinchot Institute study entitled Managing Deer in the Commonwealth, claiming that PGC was the most enlightened state game agency because unlike other states, the PGC had changed from the archaic "agricultural paradigm" (maximum sustained yield) method to ecosystem management.

Conclusion. Along with herd reduction, environmentalists successfully eliminated the traditional "maximum sustained yield" deer management philosophy and installed "ecosystem management" into DCNR and PGC.
In an emotionally-charged and agenda-driven feeding frenzy, science and even state law were ignored to achieve a goal that is now proven to be a conservation, social, and economic catastrophe.




©2011 • Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania