Preserving, Promoting & Protecting Bowhunting in Pennsylvania May 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 Yesterday I attended the House Game & Fisheries Committee hearing on Senate Bill 192, which proposes to allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to set their own fees on hunting licenses and permits. Having already passed the Senate by a nearly unanimous vote this piece of legislation was sent to the HG&FC for approval. Unfortunately for the PGC, and ultimately every hunter, most Pennsylvania residents, and the wildlife and habitat the PGC is charged with managing and protecting, it failed to receive the necessary votes that would have propelled the bill toward a full House vote. The impetus for the negative vote on SB 192 came from Representative David Maloney (R), 130th District, serving Bucks County. Remember him? He graced the cover of the Winter Edition 2017 of our magazine with his archery-killed bear, reportedly part of his “triple trophy”, which turned out to be a less than accurate claim as his turkey and deer were taken the previous season. Maloney began his opposition to SB 192 by claiming that the PGC is spending $5-million on a new building, and that if they have that kind of money they certainly don’t need and increase in revenue. In reality, the PGC is at this point only proposing that one of their regional office buildings needs to be replaced. The current building is old and outdated and bringing it up to
date would likely be cost prohibitive in comparison to building a new one. There is also a possibility that the current building could be rented to county government for use by one or more public service providers. This is only good business, a wise financial decision, and good future planning. Be that as it may, Maloney kick-started similar comments of opposition from other members of the HG&FC, and from both sides of the political aisle. Although several members seemed to follow the same feelings as Maloney, others were simply opposed to what the bill would provide to the agency preferring a simple license increase rather than granting the agency the power to set their own fees. Others, like Maloney, feel that the agency needs increased oversight, a catch-phrase that most legislators who have ill-feelings toward the agency seems to constantly parrot. In truth the PGC has always had oversight and has always fully revealed their financial report, not only to the Legislature, but also to the public. (See 2017 issue of Pennsylvania Game News or go to www.pgc.pa.gov) House Game & Fisheries Committee Chairman, Keith Gillespie specifically reminded the committee members that the PGC compliment of WCO’s has been reduced by retirements, and that due to budget restrictions no WCO class at Ross Leffler School will occur until 2019. By that time the number of graduates produced will not be sufficient to fill all vacancies.
Further, he asked the members if they were comfortable with allowing poaching and other game violations to continue with an insufficient compliment of officers to investigate and arrest the violators. Once discussion was completed a vote was taken on Maloney’s motion, with a second by Rep. Gergley, to table SB 192 until a full financial and performance audit will be completed on the Pennsylvania Game Commission. (The audit is not scheduled to be completed until sometime in 2018.) With that a vote was taken and the motion passed 14-13, which effectively stalled any financial relief for the agency. At this juncture, and my best guess, is that the Senate will draft a new bill that would give the PGC a straight across the board license increase, but who knows when that might occur.
GOVERNOR UNRESPONSIVE TO SPORTSMEN The issue of appointments to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s, Board of Commissioners, is and should be of great importance to the sportsmen of the Commonwealth. Governor Tom Ridge created the Governors Sportsmens Advisory Council on Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation (GSAC) with the intent that representatives of Pennsylvania’s hunting, fishing, and conservation groups would assist in the selection process of candidates for seats on the Board of Commissioners for both the PA Game Commission, and the PA Fish & Boat Commission. In the beginning the process was transparent and the GSAC members communicated with their individual groups as to who the candidates were and, after the interview and selection process, whose names (at a minimum, two) were sent to the Governor for appointment. And once the Governor selected the name of the individual he wanted to be appointed, and which he sent to
the Senate for confirmation, the member organizations and sportsmen were aware of whom might be representing them on the PGC Board of Commissioners. This gave sportsmen in the district for which the candidate was being considered to have a part in the process by giving them the opportunity to provide input – yea or nay, to their Senator. The whole idea of the GSAC was to give the sportsmen a voice in the process, and while the process was most assuredly political, with the Governor having the option to reject the name(s) of the candidates selected by the GSAC, the sportsmen still had a voice. The Rendell administration changed all that by making the whole process secretive by not allowing the GSAC members to discuss the candidates, the interviews, or the selections with anyone outside the council. Suddenly the sportsmen had less of a voice other than being represented on the council by a member of one or more of the organizations in which they were a member. Our current Governor cut the sportsmen even further out of the process by maintaining the cloak of secrecy, and with his announced plan to “add greater diversity to the Council” effectively cut most sportsmen’s groups out of the process almost entirely. While all members are listed on the GSAC website there are no “bio’s” to indicate what their backgrounds may be, and thus what knowledge they may have concerning wildlife management. Of course the whole process of commissioner candidate selection may be expected to be somewhat time consuming, but with the District 7 PGC/BOC seat, formally held by Jay Delaney, now empty for almost four years, this is a disservice to the sportsmen of that district. And with the District 6 seat, formally held by Ron Weaner empty, and District 3 Commissioner Dave Putnam’s term up in May, and District 2 Commissioner Schlemmer’s tern ending in June 2
a definite need for urgency in the replacement process is in order. Of course the responsibility of commissioner replacement begins with the GSAC, and the lack of forward motion certainly began with the inordinate amount of time it took to even come up with a council under the recent administration. Add to this an apparent inability of the council to select likely candidates and the governor’s obvious lack of interest in choosing a name to send to the Senate have only further lengthened the process. Governor Wolf’s apparent unconcern for sportsmen’s issues is compounded by his refusal to even acknowledge correspondence from sportsmen, or sportsmen’s organizations. Letters from the UBP and UBP members have not been favored with a response, and one can only assume that the management of wildlife and habitat are of little concern to either him or his administration.
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. 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 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.
Contact either: “Captain” Sam Nelson @: email@example.com Home: 717-653-2531 Cell: 717-644-1059 OR “Captain” Pat Covert @: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 724-614-9257
2018 WINTER BANQUET The Winter Banquet will be held in the same location next year at the Sheraton East Harrisburg on March 17, 2018.
So here’s the plan: 3
BOARD OF DIRECTORS â€“ 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
Published on Mar 11, 2018