ATV-UTV Trail

USP understands a group called Allegheny Ridge Recreation Association that has received funding from the DCNR and is trying to push for a six-county ATV & OHV trail from Houtzdale, Pa to Flight 93 memorial. USP was informed by an individual who attended the meeting and stated the map that was shown at the meeting showed the trail going through miles of state game lands and state forests and would ruin a lot of good hunting.

Deer hunting has taken a major hit, by the concurrent seasons, excess doe tags, and multiple tags issued by PGC.   It’s already hard enough to find public land that you can walk more than a half-mile without running into a trail or road already and I think another ATV trail is the last thing our state game lands needs

Please send in your comments to pgccomments@pa.gov or write your representative, you can find your representative by clicking here.   This is an important issue our PA state game lands that we have paid for with our taxes paid on sporting goods and the pitman-Robinson funds PGC get paid for these game lands.

Big Bucks

BIG BUCKS

by Richard Tate

 

The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) likes to take credit for the harvest of trophy bucks in the state, telling us its deer management program is responsible for increasing the number of big bucks. However, the PGC’s program is only indirectly responsible for large bucks harvested in Pennsylvania — and certainly not in the way the PGC would have us believe.

 

The February issue of the PGC’s magazine, “Pennsylvania Game News,” points out what has occurred. The articles in the magazine discuss the harvest of large white-tailed bucks and the management for such animals. These bucks are mainly tagged on private, posted properties.

 

One of the articles in the February “Game News” discusses one family’s consistent harvest of bucks that make the record book for having large antlers. This family owns more than 900 acres that it manages for big deer. In addition, adjacent property owners do the same thing. The article points out that the properties are not hunted intensely, and the bucks have the opportunity to grow large antlers because they live a long time under the limited harvest by limited numbers of hunters on the properties.

 

Another article discusses what is probably going to become the number one trophy buck in the Pennsylvania record book. This buck was taken on a private farm sometime in the 1960s, a property that was basically fenced off on several sides.

 

Over the past several years, many articles in the “Game News” describe the harvests of bucks from private, posted properties. Few have described kills from unposted properties. All of this demonstrates what the PGC’s deer management program has done. It has developed a two-tier deer-hunting experience in Pennsylvania.

 

When I was young, there were few posted properties: Hunters were welcome to hunt almost everywhere. After the establishment of the PGC’s deer management program in 2002, most private properties were posted in an effort to prevent the overharvest of deer. Since access there was limited to only a few hunters, the deer herd remained healthy, and bucks did have the opportunity to live long enough to grow trophy antlers.

 

This is not true on public lands, such as state game lands. Deer there are shot as soon as they lose their fawn spots. Many button bucks are among these. The deer population has been compressed to unhealthy numbers where the deer have trouble maintaining their numbers, due to overharvesting and the increased numbers of predators.

 

KQDMA Bounty on Deer

Did Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative put a bounty on deer?   Depends on how you look at it.  On November 27, 28, and 29 2021 and on December 4, 2021, they offered a raffle ticket valued at a chance to win $500.00 for a doe, or $250.00 for a buck to all hunters that brought a deer to their check station to get weighed, measured, and aged free!  Plus, they gave each hunter bringing in a deer a fluorescent orange KQDM hat.   Now imagine $500.00 for each doe, that could mean up to three dead deer if that doe was carrying twins.  This is why we can spend a full hunting season without seeing deer?

We agree there are locations of deer overpopulation, but in our game land and forest lands where we like to hunt, the opposite is true, the deer have been exterminated thanks to the greedy hunters.  PGC provided the opportunity, the greedy hunters just did the dirty work.

Many honest true hunters would be happy just to be able to harvest a deer, even if it is just a spike.  These hunters are hunting for meat, not like the slob hunters just out to kill as many deer as they have tags.  Those slob hunters are not sportsmen, they have one thing on their mind, kill the deer, some of them just shoot at anything that even looks like a deer.

We are not asking for deer behind every tree, just a huntable population.   When you take youth out hunting, and they don’t even see any deer, let alone get a chance to harvest one, that is the end of their interest in hunting.

When is PGC going to follow Game and Wildlife Code title 34 and work for their customers, the Sportsmen?   PGC should be elected by the license buyers, not political appointments.

 

 

PGC GOT IT WRONG

THE GAME COMMISSION GOT IT WRONG!

The Pennsylvania Game Commission arbitrarily changed the opening day of deer season destroying a highly successful 60-year Thanksgiving weekend structure. Moving the opening day from Monday to the Saturday after Thanksgiving revealed a gross lack of knowledge and enormous disregard of the economic benefits linked to hunters. One of the top sales weekends for many rural businesses was taken away. No regulatory impact study was done to assess the impact of this radical change, and tens of millions of dollars of sales and tax revenue to the state evaporated. The arrogance of the PGC Board of commissioners was further revealed, when they ignored even the fact the Saturday opener would be in direct conflict with ‘Small Business Saturday’ steering a half-million hunters into the woods that day!

The Monday opener structure not only provided families time to put thanksgiving to bed, it provided the entire weekend for hunters to travel, do last-minute hunting preparations, partake in decades-old traditions, and yes spend money that weekend before the Monday opener. This change was not an oversight or inadvertent mistake. Before this change, PGC hunter surveys, hunter contacts to the agency, input from hunters across the state were running 65 to 90% opposed. Even the PGC staff surveys of perceived benefits from a Saturday start came back flat, and were not in support of the commissioner’s Saturday opener position. A small sample poll of just 10 sporting goods stores revealed over a 360,000.00 loss in sales after that first Saturday opener weekend! They identified neighboring businesses that suffered the same fate. Chamber of commerce representatives reached out to the PGC as many of their businesses were sucker-punched seeing big losses in sales.

The commissioners had no basis to make this change beneficial to hunting or otherwise, but they convinced legislators to wait 3 years to evaluate it. The waiting period is OVER… 3-years in, hunting license sales validate this as a mistake, as the main categories of Resident adult and Resident youth are below where they were in 2018. A paltry increase of a few thousand licenses in peripheral categories, not even influenced by the Saturday change is meaningless. The PGC has nothing and generated a tiny survey, represented it as broad hunter opinion, and blasted it across the state in every media venue because the REAL indicators flopped. The Saturday opener was in part a segue to bring in Sunday hunting, the Sunday can be moved to the next weekend creating 13 continuous hunting days for those that cannot hunt Monday and everyone wins. A fresh organized movement is beginning TODAY to bring back the Monday opener, and reveal this damaging decision to the highest level of state government.

To be counted and get your voice heard for restoring the Monday opener, whether a business or individual, email your views to the following:

Eastern Pa. ddavila2112@gmail.com Western Pa. rsantucci2022@gmail.com

There will be more details upcoming.

2021 raffle drawing

USP held its annual raffle drawing at Flaming Foliage on October 9, 2021. We apologize for not posting our winners earlier, but thanks to Windstream Internet problems we have not been able to log onto our editing site. Listed below are the lucky winners:

1st Prize Henry Big Boy Steel Carbine H012CR .45 Colt with Elk carved in the stock
Ticket # 12412 – Betty J Eyler – Mifflinburg

2nd Prize Island Exotic Hunt
Ticket # 02474 – Charles Mort – Uniontown

3rd Prize Fly Fishing Outfit from Kettle Creek Tackle Shop
Ticket # 05905 – Ron Sherbondy – Greenville

4th Prize Buck Model 119 Fixed Blade Knife with leather sheath
Ticket # 02602 – John Signorino – Erie

We congratulate all the winners and thank all those that purchased our raffle tickets.

No Doe Hunting Signs

NO DOE HUNTING SIGNS

USP had some good NO DOE HUNTING signs printed and sold them to individuals, clubs, landowners, etc., that wanted to limit the number of does harvest on their property USP did Not Post any land. But we may have had inquiries as to how to save our deer herd? That answer is obvious, Protect the females.

If you find one of these signs posted illegally posted on your property, USP did not put it there, and we have no idea how did post it. USP does not condone individuals posting property they do not own or have permission to post