PGC Proposes Increase
Inside the Outdoors, March 25,
2016

Any time a government agency proposes a hike in fees, at first it’s a big deal. The one statement that seems to be popular is, “Well, that’s it for me. You are not going to find me doing that anymore.”

But when the season gets closer, and the itch starts to get under one’s skin, the majority of sports enthusiasts seem to give in. One may call this human nature, at best. On the other hand, a true-blue hunter will pay the price because he enjoys the thrill of the sport.

Such is the case with the proposed hunting license Senate Bill 1148 of 2015 that would raise fees of hunting licenses for the state of Pennsylvania. It was back in 1999 that the last increase took place. That was some time ago. Like everything else, costs go up and new problems crop up that have to be dealt with. That all costs money. If it wasn’t needed, would there be any consideration of raising the fees?

According to Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Executive Director R. Matthew Hough, “If approved in a timely manner, it would provide the Game Commission with sustainable funding to enable the agency to meet the goals and objectives outline by its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.”

Hough stated that this increase would cover the cost of inflation. “It’s been difficult to stretch the dollar any further, and we are at a point now and we have needed to have to make some very difficult decisions to cut staff and scale back programs solely for budgetary reasons,” he stated.

It was noted in the March 11, 2016 edition of the Pennsylvania Outdoor News story, titled, In annual report, PGC chief asks for license fee hike, it was noted, “The commission has also cut full-time staff-mostly through allowing vacant positions to go unfilled – and is eliminating 45 limited–term jobs that are currently filled. It’s also put off doing a wildlife conservation officer class to train new officers.”

Hough added, “Without additional revenues in the near future, we will have to take even greater steps at reducing expenditures.”

The proposed license-fee increase would put the Game Commission back on solid financial footing.

Six of the proposed fees would jump up $5, which really isn’t that much. These licenses would include: bear (resident), bear (non-resident), antlerless deer (resident), archery deer (resident), migratory game bird (nonresident), and special wild turkey (resident).

There were four hunting license fees that could be increased by $10. These included: adult (resident), muzzleloader deer (resident), adult furtaker (resident), and Special Wild Turkey (nonresident).

Also up for adoption are some new categories of licenses. These include: senior nonresident hunting, $100; senior nonresident furtaker, $80; senior nonresident combo hunting and furtaker, $150; ultimate outdoor combo (bear, archery, muzzleloader, furtaker, migratory game bird, special wild turkey) resident, $110 and a nonresident, $350.

“The license-fee increase,” Hough stated, “would put the Game Commission back on solid financial footing, and the sooner this proposal is approved, the better for the state’ wildlife, and its hunters and trappers, and all citizens and the Commonwealth who care about wildlife.”

One such future will include cutting back pheasant stocking.

The states hunters and trappers have demonstrated clear support for a license fee increase. Thirteen of the Pennsylvania’s major sportsmen’s organizations with statewide membership have formally supported a license-fee increase.

The PGC, unlike many other state agencies does not receive tax money from the state’s general fund to help pay for staff and operations. Instead, it is funded almost exclusively by the state’s hunters and trappers. According to the agency, “Other primary sources include federal Pittman-Robertson funds collected from an excise tax on sporting arms and ammunitions, and revenue derived from the sale of natural resources like, timber, oil and gas on lands owned by the Game Commission.”

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Isn’t it interesting how some people feel they are too smart to be caught when violating the law? It’s always the other guy who’s a little bit dumber and gets nabbed.

That is what four men may have thought while carrying out their alleged deer poaching operation.

According to a news report aired over KDKA, March 11, 2016, four area men, poaching deer in Derry, Unity and Mt. Pleasant Township, were caught by state police and Pennsylvania Game Commission officials.

Wildlife Conservation Officer Brian Singer stated, “Throughout the course of the investigation, we discovered 11 deer were taken unlawfully.”

Arrested were Ben Daniels, 18, and Travis Kolick 23 of Unity Township, Charles Harr, Sr., Derry Township and his son, 19-year old Charles Harr, Jr.

It was reported that all would face hefty fines, possible jail time, and loss of their hunting licenses for a very long time.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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