Preserving, Promoting & Protecting Bowhunting in Pennsylvania July 2017
www.ubofpa.org This newsletter is sent monthly as a supplement to the quarterly magazine
REPORT TO UBP BOARD Wes Waldron, UBP PAYHEC (PA Youth Hunter Education Challenge) Committee On Friday, June 16, 2017 I traveled to PGC’s Scotia Range to set up the archery course for competition. Retired PGC WCO, and now DWCO Ken Packard and I set up all targets and ballistic backdrop curtains. Although PGC Scotia Range Land Management personnel mowed the main path they did not mow the individual target spots so we had to do some trimming ourselves, both on Friday and early Saturday morning. Saturday morning, after picking up one volunteer, I traveled back to Scotia Range to range master and finalize scoring for the archery competition. This year we had 172 young shooters, down a bit from the past several years, but the weather held and the competition went smoothly. The highlight of the archery competition was seeing five perfect scores, two by junior shooters and three by seniors. This was the most perfect scores posted at a qualifying event that I have seen in all my years of involvement. The top overall teams of Juniors and Seniors will be traveling to the National YHEC competition which will be held at NRA’s Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. As always, my sincere thanks to all the volunteers who donated their time for this event. From UBP: Mel Johnson, Jeff Uschak, Bill Harpster, Bob Klinger, Don Hackman, Paul Rebarchak, and Ron Murphey.
Non-UBP : Bill Palmer, Grace Brooks, and from the PA Game Commission, WCO Kirk Miller and DWCO Ken Packard.
OFFICE MANAGER ANNOUNCEMENT After many years of dedicated and professional service to the UBP, Art Keefer has decided to retire as Office Manager. I thought we had a deal that he wouldn’t desert me as long as I was President, but guess I stayed too long. Thank you seems utterly inadequate for all Art has done to support me and to make sure the UBP ran as well as possible. But I will say THANK YOU! Not many members haven’t had a personal contact with Art and I’m sure they all were better or more satisfied with the UBP because of it. He has been our main champion and promoter. Art has always found extra ways to help, often volunteering (without being asked) to do way more than was on his job description. I never heard “not my job” from Art. I certainly hope he’s going to be available at many events in the future where he can sit back and watch others do the work for a change. Art’s last “official” day in office will be August 31, 2017. He’ll still be active because he promised a stint as Regional Director. The new Office Manager will be Patrick Schild. Office will be at his home, 907 Derbyshire Avenue, Mechanicsburg, PA. 17055, 800 number and UBP office email remain the same. The local (PA) number will be changing and will be published as soon as it’s in effect. Rick Conley, President
CABELA’S BOWHUNTER CLASSIC – JULY 29-30 HELP NEEDED We need volunteers to help one or both days at Cabela’s Bowhunter Classic on July 29th & 30th, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM both days. Please reply to Andy Kazmierczak to volunteer at: Andykaz2804@comcast.net
RECRUITMENT If you talk with a farmer about what it takes for a successful harvest; they will talk about the need to get the seed in the ground at the right time; and in the right soil conditions in order to have a high rate of seed germination. Of course you then need just the right amount of rain to keep those newly germinated seeds growing. Similarly if you talk about deer numbers to a whitetail deer biologist you will most certainly hear the words “fawn recruitment”. These two events are very similar in many ways. Just like crops, fawns need to hit the ground at just the right time for them to flourish. Their mothers need to be healthy and have a good food supply; and the weather needs to cooperate. Predators, just like weeds in the field, can also be a problem.
I recently attended the Great Outdoor Picnic sponsored by the Pa Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs. There I ran into Bryan Burhans the new Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Game
Commission. We talked about many topics important to bowhunters; including deer management and fawn recruitment. As we talked a steady stream of enthusiastic youngsters stepped up to try their hand at the UBP’s Hoverball attraction. Suddenly, Bryan points to those happy kids, he then looks at me and says, “Fawn recruitment! That is exactly what we are doing here. It is very important in more ways than one”. So I asked him about Sunday hunting as a tool for that very purpose. His response was: “It has to happen……It must happen”. All sportsmen, particularly bowhunters, are lucky to have Bryan Burhans sitting at the head of the table at the PGC. But Bryan needs our help. There are far too many misguided hunters resisting this much needed tool to expose our kids to the hunting lifestyle; a tool for planting that seed. And there are just as many who say they are for it but won’t take the time to call their legislators to ask for it. Ironically our biggest road block is the PA Farm Bureau who says they support hunting, just not on Sundays. Which is quite strange since as farmers, they should know the importance of sowing and germinating the hunting seed in the minds of our kids. It also seems a bit hypocritical that they resist Sunday hunting while at the same time they send a delegation to every PGC meeting to complain about crop damage. None the less they are still against it and are quite vocal about it with the legislature; and the squeaky wheel gets the oil when it comes to politics.
So we need to be more vocal. The rep in my district says she gets very few calls from sportsmen and women in support of Sunday hunting. PLEASE! Call your rep today and tell them otherwise. Tell them you support Sunday hunting. Have your wife, brother, uncle and adult kids call and do the same. Otherwise our new crop of hunters will get smaller every year and eventually the hunting fields of Pennsylvania will become a barren pasture. It’s up to you!
PGC/BOC Quarterly Meeting June 26, 2017 It appears that the Board of Commissioners have changed the third quarterly meeting in June to a one-day affair. Of course it is without question the meeting with the least amount of business to address, and this meeting was no exception. There were only four people who offered public comment, including Representative Robert Godshall. Once the comments had been received the Board presented awards to a number of 25year employees, and the WCO of the Year. Once those were completed the Board heard one Staff Report from the Bureau of Habitat Management involving habitat reclamation at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. After that presentation the Board adjourned at 10:15 A.M. until the Business Session at 1:00 P.M. The Business session went quickly with the Board acting on the following items. 1Gave preliminary approval to the legalization of, electronically heated scent or lure dispensers, electric devices that generate and dispense ozone for scent control purposes, and the use of electronic decoys used to hunt waterfowl. This proposal is now up for a 90-day comment period and will be up for final adoption at the September 25-26, 2017 quarterly meeting 2Approved a housekeeping amendment to the hunting regulations pertaining to the recently approved use of air/gas powered rifles and rimfire (.17-.22) where they were still under the heading of unlawful devices and methods for taking small game. The amendment language also extended the use of air/gas guns for dispatching legally trapped furbearers caught in a trap during the regular or special firearms season. 3Gave final adoption to the proposal amendment to the game laws in respect to
air/gas guns that any air gun with a pellet or bullet ammunition in either the chamber or magazine will be consider â€œloadedâ€?, and as such would be illegal to carry in a vehicle. 4Gave final adoption to the proposal that rescinds the sunset clause on baiting permits for deer. Several land purchases, one land transfer, and several gas or coal leases were also approved. The Next BOC Working Group Meeting is scheduled for August 28th and the next quarterly meeting is scheduled for September 25-26, 2017 and will be held at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area east of Harrisburg in Stevens. PA, off I-76.
HOUSE GAME & FISHERIES COMMITTEE HEARING SENATE BILLS #30 and #192 The Tuesday June 20th hearing was strictly informational with only two presentations. The first was delivered by Executive Director John Arway, PF&BC, on why they need a license increase as proposed in Senate Bill 30. Of the most importance to UBP was the second presentation delivered by PGC Executive Director, Brian Burhans regarding the Agencies need for a license increase as proposed by Senate Bill 192. As most of you should be aware by now, both bills passed the Senate by a substantial margin but neither have been able to garner a passing vote in the HG&FC. You should also be aware that due to a motion to table by Representative Maloney, and supported by 13 other members of the HG&FC, that motion passed by a 14-13 vote. The hearing today was attended by the following HG&FC Members. Representatives Gillespie, Chairman, Rep. Moul, Vice Chair, and 3
Representative’s Wentling, Everett, Jozwiak, Cook, Mehaffie, English, and Warner, all Republican. Only Representative Barbin, Minority Chair, Rep Mullery, Minority Vice Chair, and Representative’s Snyder and Hanna were in attendance of the twelve Democratic members of the Committee. Representative Hanna is also the House Democratic Whip. (Several other Representatives popped in and out and I either did not recognize them or failed to record their entrance and exit.) After Executive Director Burhans delivered his presentation there were of course a number of questions. Most of the Committee Members questions involved requests for clarification on issues such as monies the Agency has in escrow, the proposed new PGC office building in the Northeast Region, the perceived need for additional oversight, current financial status, and revenue expenditures. Additional questions included the subjects of cost savings cuts, projected benefits of a license increase, and current and projected compliment of Wildlife Conservation Officers. Regarding the issue of oversight, Burhans pointed out the following required audits. U.S Dept. of Interior Audit on all Federal & License Fund Expenditures (every 3-years) Annual Auditor Generals’ Review of all License Sales by County Treasurers Annual Report which must include Financial Accountability and Balance Sheet of Escrow Accounting Annual Audit on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles by the Auditor General Monthly Audit by the General Budget Office/Comptroller & Department of Treasury on Purchasing Card Transactions
LB&FC Financial Audit (every 5-years) Annual Single Audit of all Federal Funds Regarding the claim that the Agency is planning a new building at a cost of $5M, Burhans pointed out that a request for the construction of a new Northeast Region Office began in 2013 and that by March of 2017 a total of $4,518,203 has been transferred to the Department of General Services to cover the low bid so the contract could be awarded and construction could begin. Regarding monies in escrow: The PGC currently has money in five escrow accounts, most of which have spending restrictions either from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, or are earmarked for specific purposes that make them unavailable for use for General Fund purposes. No revenue from gas or Natural Resource sales (timber, coal or other minerals) has been put in escrow since 2014-15. Regarding cost and manpower cuts: To date, the PGC has eliminated 40 limited term positions, closed two pheasant farms and furloughed 14 staff, eliminated two divisions within the Bureau of Information & Education, put the Hunting/Trapping Digest on-line (License buyers now have to buy a digest if they cannot or prefer not to download it.), limited vehicle purchases to emergency situations only, and have tabled the construction of the Pymatuning Wildlife Center. They now have 40-full time manpower vacancies. Their reduced compliment of Wildlife Conservation Officers have resulted in many officers having to cover two and three times the area. Due to revenue restrictions no WCO class is planned until 2019, at which time, even with full class (28) graduation in 2020, those officers will not bring the compliment up to full strength.
Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LB&FC) Audit on Strategic Plan (every 3-years) 4
It must be pointed out that the perceived need for increased oversight, the $5M building question, and the need to table Senate Bill 192 until the Auditor General’s Office completes its audit of the PGC’s revenue and spending were the reasons that Representative Maloney gave for that motion. And apparently the resulting vote was based upon those concerns. In reality the Auditor General has no current time table, or has developed a plan for the scope of an audit of the PGC. As pointed out previously in this report, the PGC is subject to eight separate recurring audits, and in fact, Senate Bill 192 requires an additional 10-levels of review before passage. Representative Maloney knows the political game since he has held his seat for six years. He was a former Building Contractor and Process Engineer and one can certainly expect that he and his staff are well aware of the Department of General Services process, as well as the money the PGC had begun to set aside in 2013 to pay for a new regional office. His bits of misleading information may fool some people, but they are nothing more than stall tactics by he, and other legislators on both sides of the aisle, in an apparent campaign to bankrupt the PA Game Commission. As Executive Director Burhans and the accompanying report to the HG&FC pointed out, the Agency is in dire need of a license increase. The sales of hunting licenses and permits accounts for just over 32% of PGC revenue. That percentage has decreased over the years, and especially since 1999 when combination licenses for junior and senior license holders went on sale. The combined general license, furtaker tag, archery and muzzleloader tags are now included under one fee, and at a much reduced cost than if they are been purchased separately. While this was great for the junior and senior hunters it was at the cost of loss of revenue for the Agency.
One can only hope that Representative Maloney and those who support his belligerency to allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission the revenue increase they truly deserve will finally concede. After all, the fate of our Game Lands, over 400 species of wildlife, the habitat in which they reside, and the protection of those valuable resources most assuredly deserve to be preserved and enhanced, and he and his supporters apparently could care less.
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. Other Upcoming Meetings
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.