Pennsylvania – Jeff Mulhollem

Time for PGC to do all business in public

I want to say upfront that I admire the folks who have served and are serving as Pennsylvania game commissioners. Being a board member of the agency is mostly a thankless job, and the abuse they absorb from hunters furious over the state’s bitter deer debate is overwhelming. I wouldn’t do it, nor would most of you – they don’t…

Turns out, governor will create a council

The message, when it finally came, was humorously misleading. I wondered afterward if somebody in the governor’s office had a devious sense of humor – perhaps Tom Corbett himself. They really had us going! But I think more likely it was just a clumsy effort to let sportsmen know the administration had, at long last, realized it needed to empanel…

Politicians enter the argument over deer

Depending on your outlook, of course, it is either a really good thing or a very bad development that elected officials — politicians — are trying to get involved in or interfere with wildlife management in Pennsylvania. And it's all about deer, obviously. Recently we reported that Rep. David Maloney Sr., R-Berks, was seeking cosponsors for a bill he plans…

Sunday hunt sausage being made right now

I remember three decades or so ago, as a young newspaper reporter, asking a veteran state representative from my hometown district about the “negotiations” behind a solid waste disposal bill that was moving in Harrisburg. “Son,” he said in a condescending tone that I still resent, “you don’t want to see the sausage being made.” But truth is, I did….

All Pa. farmers don’t oppose Sunday hunting

If you have been closely following the debate over expanded Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, you may think that all the farmers in Pennsylvania oppose lifting the ban. The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which claims to represent 50,000 farm and rural families across the state, is staunchly opposed to any expansion of Sunday hunting here. According to the Farm Bureau, the overwhelming…

Sunday hunting fight going down to wire

Rep. Ed Staback wouldn’t say so, but I get the feeling he’s disillusioned with the national groups that persuaded him to introduce a bill to lift the ban on Sunday hunting. A coalition that includes the NRA, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance — which is committed to legalizing Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania and 10 other…

Benefits, risks of Marcellus gas drilling

Seems like everyone in the state these days is talking about the effects of Marcellus natural-gas drilling — both good and bad.Government officials widely disagree. Depending on whom you listen to, shale gas development is either an unprecedented economic boom that we should blindly pursue without reservation or an ecological disaster waiting to happen on the scale of pollution from…

2011 a bad year for boating fatalities

Turns out that this year will go down as a bad one for boating fatalities in Pennsylvania. We know it already. By mid-July there had already been 13, according to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. Here's the rundown presented to commissioners at their recent quarterly meeting: — Fatality 1, Allegheny River, Venango County, April 17, 3:40 p.m. on a…

Real sportsmen don’t eat bean sprouts

I was telling a friend about a story I wrote recently, reporting on the E. Coli outbreak in Germany, how it was caused by eating bean sprouts, why it should be a warning to Americans, and how I’m sort of paranoid these days about eating anything that grows close to the ground.Because he knows that I am both a science…

Extinction of Eastern cougar met with sadness in Nittany Valley

You’ll understand if the recent proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare the Eastern cougar extinct takes on a special significance at Penn State, where the Nittany Lion has been the University’s mascot since 1904.After a lengthy review, federal officials in March revealed their conclusion that there are no breeding populations of cougars — also known as…

Way past time for county treasurers to get out of doe-license sales

At the April meeting of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, the politicians again thumbed their nose at sportsmen. Members voted against moving HB 524 (which would allow the Game Commission and designated issuing agents to sell antlerless licenses). That effectively preserves county treasurers’ monopoly on selling doe licenses. The vote was 15-10 against the bill. However, the committee voted…

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania

I don’t think the Sunday-hunting ban will be lifted here, no matter how much money and resources national groups such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation or the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance pour into our state. And they say their campaign is starting now. Because right or wrong, Sunday hunting looks like it has become a partisan issue in Pennsylvania. Republicans…

John Arway is right: Pa. should charge for use of water

I heard a story this week related to the Marcellus natural-gas play that is disturbing. Not illegal or perhaps even unethical, mind you, but troubling all the same. And it illustrates a problem our commonwealth is ignoring.It seems a long-ago established and successful central Pennsylvania trucking company, which is located on the bank of a well-known creek — that is…

Not everyone loves no-kill bass regs on troubled Susquehanna River

Maybe it's just me. For the last several years I have been thinking a lot about the implications of anglers hooking and temporarily removing spawning bass from beds and making their eggs and fry vulnerable to predators such as bluegills. My son is currently conducting research with largemouth bass at the University of Illinois on the question, involving bass and…

Are coyotes keeping deer numbers low in state?

As deer numbers continue to be low on the vast public lands in the state‘s northern tier, and even in many places south of Interstate 80, hunters search for reasons why. They keep coming back to coyotes. Even though the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer biologists have consistently claimed that coyote predation on fawns is not increasing, according to their data,…

Chesapeake Bay nutrient imbalance must be addressed

The problem plaguing the Chesapeake Bay is widely known and obvious, according to a crops and soils expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. But after decades of trying to save the famous estuary by spending billions of dollars on pollution-control measures, we have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go to solve…

Famous Benezette town bull dead

One of the most famous residents in Pennsylvania’s northcentral region died Jan. 7, but you may not have seen an obituary. That’s because he was an elk. Nicknamed “Freddy” by local residents and wearing Game Commission research collar #36, the big bull has hung out in and around the Elk County village of Benezette for 18 years… You read that…

Squirrels abound in state’s forests and woodlots, PGC says

Harrisburg — If there’s one game animal that could use some additional attention in Pennsylvania, it’s squirrels. Pennsylvania Game Commission field officers report squirrel populations are strong in most areas of the state. Gray squirrels continue to be found across Pennsylvania in sizeable numbers, and the black-phase gray squirrel isn’t hard to find north of Interstate-80 and east of the…

Squirrels abound in state’s forests and woodlots, PGC says

Harrisburg — If there’s one game animal that could use some additional attention in Pennsylvania, it’s squirrels. Pennsylvania Game Commission field officers report squirrel populations are strong in most areas of the state. Gray squirrels continue to be found across Pennsylvania in sizeable numbers, and the black-phase gray squirrel isn’t hard to find north of Interstate-80 and east of the…