I have hunted for nearly 50 years and have sent in a harvest report card for every deer, buck or doe that I have ever harvested in Pennsylvania. I wish every hunter would do the same. Our current statewide reporting rate of less than 40 percent is a sad commentary on hunters.
With that said, I know that 100 percent reporting will never happen. Although I’m unhappy with the low reporting rate, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the number is large enough estimate the actual deer harvest. Looking at the math, I see no problem with the agency calculating (oh, my goodness – yes – calculating) the harvest from the data that it collects. If more people reported – they certainly would have more accurate estimates, but the reported numbers are adequate to measure what needs to be measured.
I’m sure that some well-meaning hunters just forget to report their kills, don’t want to be bothered, or maybe they just don’t think that it is anybody’s business. So why am I concerned about this? I suspect that some non-reporting hunters – and they are hunters, not sportsmen – don’t report because they might be out there attempting to shoot a second buck — an illegal deer. Reporting their first kill would make it easier for the PGC to ferret out their illegal activity.
I do think that it is the Game Commission’s job to make reporting as easy as possible and I think that it has done that. Hunters have three ways to report – by postpaid card, telephone and Internet. Could it be any easier?
What about “mandatory reporting” with fines and license revocations attached? It was so refreshing to read editor Jeff Mulhollem’s front-page article in the July 6, 2012, issue of Pennsylvania Outdoor News. I thought that the people interviewed by Mulhollem did an excellent job of explaining why this just isn’t possible. I hope that everyone takes the time to read this article.