More public relations needed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission
A recent email exchange with Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania president Randy Santucci provides food for thought.
Santucci and I were discussing the merits of the Pennsylvania Game Commission spending hunting license dollars to expand the agency’s information and education presence in the elk range -- including work at the joint Department of Conservation and Natural Resources-Keystone Elk Country Alliance visitor center on Winslow Hill at Benezette.
If you are now thinking -- “Wait a minute, this Nale guy hates the Unified Sportsmen. Why would he even talk to Santucci?” -- you would be wrong.
While Santucci and I disagree slightly about the importance of the Game Commission’s elk season and elk management (as compared to deer) we very much agree about the importance of some of our hunting license dollars being used to promote hunting and the public perception of hunters.
Santucci and I communicate regularly.
Santucci wrote -- “The PR thing -- I have been harping on this for years! I live in Allegheny County -- the number one county for license sales for over 50 years -- and I see no Game Commission advertising or public displays on TV or otherwise. If they are there, they certainly are not significant enough to notice.”
Santucci and I also agree that the commission should do a better job of letting the public know who bought and manages the 1.4 million acres of state game lands. If you ask the typical “Joe Public,” he would say that tax dollars purchased the game lands. Of course, this is false.
“Promoting to the general public that sportsman dollars have provided over 1.4 million acres of game lands open to low impact use by the public would be a start,” Santucci wrote. “We could add -- please concentrate your use outside of the hunting seasons as a courtesy to those of us who hunt. Wouldn’t this be an eye-opener to those ‘greenies’ that have a low opinion of hunters?”
Santucci would also like to see signs posted at entrances to state game lands saying, “These lands have been unselfishly provided by the hunters and trappers of Pennsylvania. Your use is welcome, but please restrict your use to times outside of the hunting seasons.”
While I might alter his wording a little, I agree with him in principle.