Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Notes off a soiled cuff: Are there more poachers today than in the past?

– Long-time subscriber Dave Cecchi, of North Apollo, Pa., was the latest of a number of readers to weigh in on the poaching bust stories we have published recently.

“Enjoyed the latest issue, although I am disappointed to be reading all these articles about game being taken illegally – they now appear in just about every edition,” he wrote.

“What’s going on with people? These amazing trophies could be lifetime memories for lucky hunters if taken by ethical means, had they not been taken by cowardly cheaters.” 

I told him the seeming increase in poaching reflects the general expansion of criminality and lawlessness in our society. But then I got to thinking … is there really more poaching going on these days, with many fewer hunters spending less time in the woods?

“Only slightly,” said Travis Lau, the Game Commission’s communications director. He provided the agency’s citation numbers for unlawful taking of game or wildlife. They have risen a little: 2022 (to date) – 1,269; 2021 – 1,146; 2020 – 1,229; 2019 – 1,044; and 2018 – 1,236.

Based on those figures, he said, violations are in the range of where they’ve been. “One thing that might make it seem like there are more violations nowadays is that we often share news about them through social media, which can draw a lot of attention,” Lau added. “That’s a relatively new mechanism for getting out the word.”

– A deer hunter in Lancaster County recently hung upside down for an hour before Pennsylvania Game Commission staff and personnel from local fire companies could bring in multiple extension ladders to get him down from his tree.

According to Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham, the hunter’s treestand failed, but his safety harness prevented any injuries that would have required a hospital stay or worse.

– It is with great sadness that I must tell you that a writer’s name many of you have seen way more than 100 times in this newspaper over the past 20 years will not be seen again. Marcus Schneck, of Hamburg – who many of us regarded as the dean of Pennsylvania outdoor writers – died after a brief illness Dec. 20.

An old friend – who I valued for his intellect, dedication, professionalism and sense of humor – is best known for being the outdoors and nature writer for Harrisburg Patriot News and Pennlive. com for nearly 27 years. And he authored more than two dozen books about the outdoors.

I met Marcus at a Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association conference 36 years ago, and he has been a freelance contributor to publications I have edited for three decades. As a news reporter, he was one of the very best, and I knew I could always rely on him to get us a story.

Deepest sympathies to his wife, Jill, his son, Casey, and the rest of his family. Marcus was one of the good guys, and we’ll really miss him.

– The story on Page 1 about a bill being introduced in the Legislature to move the opening of deer season back from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to the following Monday will please many readers. But Suzanne Snyder, of Patton, Pa., presented a viewpoint we hadn’t heard.

The Game Commission apparently doesn’t like women hunters, she contends. “Throw us a bone (or an antler) – commissioners who approved the Saturday after Thanksgiving deer opener must not be married or have female hunting partners, because if they did, they would never have done it,” she wrote.

“Whether a full-time working woman with kids in the nest or a retired empty nester like myself, this Saturday opener decision is not female friendly. Readying for the family Thanksgiving is no easy feat.”

Many women are still cleaning come Friday and they get no break before heading to the woods on Saturday, Snyder pointed out.

“Traditionally, it is the female who starts the Christmas holiday prep, but for me and other huntresses there is no break for Black Friday shopping or sleep,” she wrote. “This isn’t just a rant from a frustrated female that should be home baking cookies, but a serious point of view.”

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