Pennsylvania – Mark Nale

PGC jumped the gun on Sunday hunting issue

Whether you are for or against being able to hunt all game animals on Sundays, the Board of Pennsylvania Game Commissioners recently took a position that will not help them in the long run. They voted 4 to 3 in June — passing a broad measure supporting legislation that would allow additional hunting on Sundays (that is, in addition to…

Individuals do make a difference

All across Pennsylvania, volunteer organizers and activists plan events, lead habitat projects, tirelessly head sportsmen’s clubs, or rally for cleaner water, land preservation or hunting/shooting rights. These are the guys and gals who step up and say, “I’ll be president for another year,” “Let’s preserve and improve this river,” or “There is no reason why we couldn’t have a world…

Land preservation – What the PA Game Commission does best

We have two wildlife agencies in Pennsylvania – the Game Commission and the Fish & Boat Commission. I gladly buy licenses and therefore “support” both agencies each year. Many of you do the same. Since I favor long-term lasting gains over short-term thinking, I’m not always happy about where my license money goes.If we were having an inter-agency contest –…

Stocked Trout – at what cost?

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has two serious problems that they seem to be unwilling or unable to address – disappearing stocked trout and how much their hatchery system actually costs license buyers. Raising stocked trout is a big business for the PFBC. They spend millions of dollars to raise and stock adult hatchery trout. This year, approximately 3.2…

Big-money outdoor sports contests and the polygraph

During my writing career, I have covered many hunting and fishing contests.  The events are certainly exciting and draw large crowds. However, without fail, grumblings and accusations about some type of foul play are heard at every contest. The organizers must attempt to prevent and deal with suspected cheating. It is not an easy job.Take something as traditional and sporting…

Misplaced Anger

One month ago, in a 22-page decision, Commonwealth Court dismissed the lawsuit filed against the Pennsylvania Game Commission by the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania.  The lawsuit had claimed that the agency was using fraudulent science to manage deer. It also alleged that the deer herd was not being managed in the best interests of hunters or the deer themselves. This…

Winter Trout

Since New Year’s Day, I have been anxious to do some winter trout fishing, but central Pennsylvania has had a colder than average winter. Any remotely possible weather day just never suited my schedule. Finally, on Feb. 16, we had a day with great potential for winter trout fishing.Freestone or limestone stream  — there wasn’t really a choice. Bald Eagle…

Doe Season Length & Structure

One oft-debated “Deer Wars” topic here in Pennsylvania is the length and timing of antlerless deer season. Hunter views run the gamut from supporting 12 days of concurrent buck and doe season, favoring 7 or fewer days of concurrent, to 1 to 3 days following buck season or just being against doe season entirely.  I began hunting during the era of…

Boop’s Pain

Hunting, fishing and just getting out is the fun part of this job, but unfortunately many of the decisions that greatly affect our favorite sports are made in meetings. One such event was the Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 PA Game Commission meeting in Harrisburg. The official news releases tell everyone what happened – a longer bear season, altered turkey seasons,…

Dismantling the PGC deer program – piece by piece

We are only about a week away from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Commissioner’s meeting, which will be held in Harrisburg, Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. This is the meeting where commissioners will give preliminary approval to the seasons & bag limits for the coming hunting seasons.  As always, the big topic will be deer. Last year at this…

Christmas 2010 Bird Count

Some hunters and anglers miss the boat when they are unwilling to participate in other non-hunting or non-fishing outdoor activities.  In early January, my daughter, her husband, and I were part of the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission encourages participation. It was our third year. We have an assigned territory within the Bald Eagle State Park…

Watching the deer and wondering

I recently had the opportunity to observe a group of deer feeding undisturbed through the forest.  I watched these deer for nearly an hour as they meandered here and there. I’m always interested in what the deer are eating, and as a hunter, you should be, too.Our acorns are long gone. As I observed with binoculars, the deer reached high…

Bear Season Questions

The 2010 bear season is history. The results, with a much lower than expected kill, beg more questions than answers. Did the altered format, with a Saturday opening day, increase or decrease hunter participation? Were more school-age hunters involved? Are hunters happy with the change?While the Game Commission claims higher bear license sales, there were widespread pre-season reports of long-time…