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Preserving, Promoting & Protecting Bowhunting in Pennsylvania April 2017

www.ubofpa.org This newsletter is sent monthly as a supplement to the quarterly magazine

LEGISLATIVE REPORT PGC BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETING Wes Waldron, Chairman, UBP Legislative Committee As unfortunately as it has been in the last several years, the PGC/BOC meetings have not been well attended, and this meeting was no exception. If one removed the representatives of sportsmen’s organizations, the outdoors writers, and PGC Staff, you would have had sufficient seating left to accommodate the members of both the Senate and the House. Only fifteen people offered testimony including the Director of HSH (Hunters Sharing the Harvest) offering thanks for the record amount of venison received and distributed, as well as three individuals who requested legalization of the device they were pitching. More on those later. In addition to the UBP testimony the following groups or organizations had their time at the podium. PA Farm Bureau, two speakers, once again to call attention to the incidents of deer and bear damage to member’s crops. Ruffed Grouse Society, Regional Biologist plus one, recommending and requesting additional grouse habitat work on SGL’s and DCNR lands.

Pheasants Forever, two speakers, with recommendations and suggestions for keeping the pheasant program alive. Retired PGC Northcentral Regional Director supporting the pheasant stamp. Former Representative David Levansky (Allegheny-Greene-Washington counties) asking why the Legislature and the PGC seemed to “ram through” the semi-automatic rifle bill when it took so long to get crossbows? Several of the remaining public commenters asked for unlimited bag limits on quail (They buy and release their own birds but are prevented from taking them all due to the bag limits which are still listed in the Game Laws, despite the listing of the quail as extirpated from the Commonwealth.) This was remedied during the business session by amending the regulation to allow unlimited take “outside of the quail restoration areas.” Several additional commenters spoke on their opposition to the pheasant stamp and the use of semi-automatic rifles for big game. A lot of time was given to award presentation including one to an HTE Instructor with 50-years of service, several to WCO’s and DWCO’s for various reasons and by several different organizations. The public comment period ended just after 11:00 A.M. and staff reports lasted until noon and after lunch break until adjournment at 3:45 P.M.

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Most interesting of the staff reports was the survey on semi-automatic rifle by Coren Jagnow, of the PGC’s Research & Education Division of the Bureau of Information & Education. This survey was mailed to 4,000 resident and nonresident Senior and Adult General License buyers. Of those mailed, a total of 2,002 were returned with the results having a +/- 2.2% of error and 95% level of confidence. The questions included, “Do you support or oppose semi-automatic rifle hunting for: Furbearers, Groundhogs, Small Game, and Big Game; with response choices of: Strongly Support, Support, Strongly Oppose, Oppose, or Neither Support or Oppose. Basically the responses of combined Strongly Support & Support, for Furbearers (55%), and groundhogs (51%), indicated support for the use of the semiauto, with Small Game response indicating a much closer percentage of 42% Support-46% opposed. The response for big game was quite different with a combined Strongly Opposed (52%) and Opposed (12%) indicating a total opposition of 64-per cent. The percentage of Neither Support nor Oppose response was almost identical at 12% per question. The average age of the respondents was 53.5years, 93.4% were male and 6.6% female, with 94.7% being residents and 5.3% non-residents. Only 36.9% of the respondents owned a semiautomatic rifle, and when their responses alone were examined (Strongly Opposed & Opposed combined) 73.1% supported use of semiautomatic rifles for furbearers, 68.7% for groundhogs, 58.8% for small game, but a 53.2% opposition to their use for big game, and 45.6% of that response was Strongly Opposed. The average of Neither Support nor Oppose was 8.85% for all four questions. The same survey also asked if the hunter supported or opposed Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, and those results were as follows. Strongly Support (40%), Support (13%) = 53%

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total support. Strongly Oppose (31%), Oppose (9%) = 40% total opposition. Neither Support nor Oppose (7%). The report also broke down the response by age with 55-year old plus hunters showing the highest percentage of being Strongly Opposed (37.9%), and under 55-year olds indicating 52.9% of the Strongly Support choice. Over 55-year olds were 8.9% of the Neither Support nor Oppose response, while only 5.8% of their younger counterparts made that response The proposal to move the archery bear opportunity from the third week of November to the fifth week of the Archery Season (October 30-Nov. 4, 2017) was approved unanimously by the Board of Commissioners. Archery bear opportunity in WMU’s 2B, 5C & 5D (Sept. 16Nov. 25) and WMU 5B (Sept. 30-Nov.11) remaining unchanged from the original proposal. I would suggest that everyone send a note of thanks to the Commissioner in their region for this change of opportunity. By the time I finish this report the Antlerless Deer Allocations will already be available on the PGC website, so I will not go into any great detail on them here. Basically the recommendations for all WMU’s was recommended by Staff at 873,000 total, but were finalized by the BOC at 804,000. The recommended allocation of available elk tags for 2017-18 season was a total of 120 but by amendment Region 7, in the area of Benezette, the allocation was reduced from 9 to 5, per recommendation of Staff, which leaves a total of 116 combined bull and cow tags available for the drawing. Previously I mentioned that several people came to the podium during the Public Comment period to ask for the legalization of several devices. The first was a request to consider allowing the use of infrared sights/scopes for night hunting predators. The second was the 2


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owner/founder of a Pennsylvania scent company who has developed a battery operated scent dispenser. The third was the General Manager of a game call company who asked for legalization of digital game calls. All three products are prohibited by language in Title 34 of the Game Law Code.

the archery deer season, and we hope that this proposal will receive final adoption during tomorrow’s business session. We have every expectation that this opportunity will not result in an over-harvest situation we would expect and support an adjustment of opportunity in the event this would occur.

During the New Business session of the meeting, Commissioner Layton requested that Executive Director Burhans and Staff review the Game Code regulations on electronic devices specifically regarding the devices which are seeking legalization, and report their recommendations at a future meeting.

With many of our members participating in pheasant hunting, our organization was disappointed that financial constraints forced the closing of several of the pheasant propagation facilities. We recognize that the proposed $25 pheasant hunting stamp will not fully generate the revenue necessary to fully fund the propagation program, we do feel that the initially proposed charge for that stamp should not be lowered and that the proposal should be granted final adoption.

The next BOC Working Group Meeting date was not announced, but the next meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be held on June 2627, 2017.

UBP TESTIMONY (MARCH 27) “Before I begin our testimony, the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania would like to congratulate Brian Burhans on his recent appointment to Executive Director of this Agency. We would also like to congratulate Tom Grohol on his recent appointment as Deputy Executive Director. The UBP looks forward to working with both of you just as we have with your predecessors.”

Good morning President Hoover, Commissioners, Executive Director Burhans, and Deputy Director Palmer, Deputy Director Grohol, my name is Wes Waldron and I am here today representing the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania. The UBP thanks the Commissioners for the proposal to move the archery bear opportunity from the third week of November to a concurrent opportunity during the fifth week of

With the issue of Sunday hunting once again brought to the forefront due to several currently active bills in the Legislature, bowhunters are once again hopeful that Pennsylvania might join the many states that have allowed this opportunity for many years. We find it quite frustrating that at almost every Board of Commissioner’s meeting my good friend Mr. Grove supplicates this Agency for relief from deer, bear, and turkey damage to the crops raised by those Farm Bureau members he represents. They continue to oppose the probable alleviation to at least some of their problem if the additional hunting opportunity that Sunday hunting would provide could be realized. We are not unsympathetic to anyone’s personal objections to hunting on Sunday, and we most certainly would not support forcing them to allow hunters on their property should that opportunity be legalized, but why continue to obstruct a goodly portion of the state’s hunters from that opportunity? Many hunters, adults and youth alike, have work and education schedules that prevent them from participating in much of any given hunting 3


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season. The addition of Sunday to the legal days available for hunting would provide many a parent and youth an opportunity that they may only have once or twice during the season. We see the recalcitrance of the Farm Bureau on this issue as antiquated and in light of their continuing complaints, justified as they are, more than a bit inflexible. At this past January’s Board of Commissioners meeting, no less than a half dozen farmers from northern counties attended to testify as to the large amount of crop damage they were experiencing due to deer and bear. We have no doubt that their complaints are factual, so why continue to object to an increase of hunting opportunity that would likely assist in addressing those complaints? Those of us that support the legalization of Sunday hunting won’t force you to participate, so why do you continue to prevent us from having that opportunity? In closing I would add that the United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania continue to support legislation that would give this agency the power to set their own fees, and also support adding teenagers to the mentored youth hunting program.

state. On a number of occasions I’ve spoken to avid bowhunters who never heard of the UBP. We need to change that. At the urging of our President, I’ve take up that challenge. So here’s the plan: Our best chance to get our message out is by grass-roots efforts conducted on the local level through our Regional Director and County Representative programs. Unfortunately, those programs pretty much mirror our membership. There are gaps that need to be filled. So, we need volunteers to step up to become County Reps, or Regional Directors. What do I need to do you ask? The short answer is promote membership in the UBP. How you might ask? Any way you can think of. But don’t worry, we will help with that. But first we need to recruit and strengthen our militia. Many hands make light work. So send the Captain of your militia an email or give him a call to let him know you are willing to pitch in. (See below) At that point we will send you more information and answer any questions you might have. To paraphrase another President. Together we can make the UBP great again!!!

A CALL TO ARMS !! The UBP needs the help of a few good men, and perhaps even more so, a few good women. In some ways, the UBP is a “militia” not so much unlike those that defended Lexington and Concord. We are a group of like-minded citizen willing to fight keep our bowhunting rights from being infringed. However, just like a militia, our strength comes from our numbers; and over the past few years our numbers have been in decline.

Contact either: “Captain” Sam Nelson @: snelson@keystoneind.com Home: 717-653-2531 Cell: 717-644-1059 OR “Captain” Pat Covert @: pcovert18@gmail.com Phone: 724-614-9257

There are a number of reasons for this. But the bottom line is that we need to do a better job of getting our message out to the far reaches of our 4


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS – 2017 MEETING DATES The next UBP BOD meeting will be held Sunday, July 16, 2017; starting at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be held at: Hemlock Field Archers 99 Spring Hill Lane Lebanon, PA 17042 The Hemlock club is located in the SE corner of the intersection of Routes 72 and 322 in Spring Hill Acres development. From PA Turnpike exit #266 go north on Route 72 about 1 mile and turn right on Spring Hill Lane (well marked). Turn left into first drive and proceed to clubhouse.

STATE HOUSE/SENATE REPS Having trouble locating your state Senator and Representative? See this link for all the contact information you need. http://www.house.state.pa.us/ When writing or calling your Senator or Representative, be polite and be professional. Let them know the Senate or House Bill number you are contacting them about and clearly let them know why you are for or opposed to the bill or issue. Conclude with your name and contact information.

Other Upcoming Meetings

September 10

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April 2017

Ubp newsletter 201704 1  

April 2017

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