Pennsylvania Game Commission tables adjustments to antlerless license limit
Harrisburg — Pennsylvania game commissioners, at their late-September meeting, tabled a proposal that would have made changes to a hunter’s personal limit of antlerless deer licenses and the number of licenses that could be purchased once over-the-counter sales of remaining tags begin in September.
Senate Bill 431, which has made progress toward adoption, would allow hunters to buy antlerless deer licenses at any license issuing agent, not just through county treasurers. That would resolve many of the issues that were behind the proposal the board was considering. Commissioners opted to table a vote and allow time for the legislation to advance.
Sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, Senate Bill 431 was approved in the state Senate by a 45-5 vote earlier this month, and subsequently voted favorably by the House Game and Fisheries Committee. It is now before the House of Representatives.
Statewide ban on urine-based deer attractants fails to advance
The proposed statewide ban on the use and field possession of urine-based deer attractants and other cervid excretions failed to gain majority support from the Board of Commissioners, meaning it will advance no further toward adoption at this time.
The Board of Commissioners was split 4-4 on whether to move the proposal toward final adoption.
Commissioners Michael Mitrick, Dennis Fredericks, Scott Foradora and Todd Pride voted to preliminarily approve the statewide ban. Commissioners Kristen Schnepp-Giger, Allen Di Marco, Stanley Knick Jr. and Haley Sankey voted against preliminary approval. Commissioner Robert Schwalm was not in attendance.
Commissioner Knick pointed out that, while the proposal failed to move forward, there will be the opportunity to bring it up again in the future.
Many of the commissioners commented on the proposal, and the difficulty with which they arrived at a decision to vote for or against it. While there’s evidence commercially produced urine-based deer attractants might contain Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prions, making them potentially infectious, the actual risk of such attractants spreading CWD to deer and elk is less clear.
CWD is fatal to deer, elk and other cervids. CWD can be transmitted directly from animal to animal, or indirectly when deer or elk contact prions in soil or other contaminated environments. Where CWD is detected in free-ranging or captive deer, the Game Commission establishes regulations meant to slow the spread of CWD to other areas. Within CWD Disease Management Areas, the use or field possession of urine-based deer attractants is prohibited.