June 4, 2023

New Head Of Pennsylvania House Game And Fisheries Committee Has An Agenda

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Standing at the head of the line to take over the lead role on the Pennsylvania House’s Game and Fisheries Committee is Edward G. Staback, a democrat from Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. He will not assume the role as an unknown forcing people to wonder where he stands on issues.

Many deer hunters in Pennsylvania are mad because they believe the Pennsylvania Game Commission has allowed for too many antlerless deer to be killed reducing deer numbers so low that hunters are refusing to buy a license. They want something done about that.

This morning, the Morning Call’s Christian Berg gives us an insight into what’s on Staback’s mind. It seems that Staback, who professes to be an avid hunter himself, thinks that some changes are needed in the management of the state’s deer herd.

”[Hunters] continue to see less and less deer, and they are getting more and more frustrated,” Staback said. ”Hopefully, we’re going to take that up with the commission and ask them how they are going to deal with this.”

Staback believes the commission’s current deer program — implemented seven years ago with the goal of reducing overall deer numbers to protect forest habitat — is a major reason hunting license sales dropped 5 percent last year and appear on pace to decline by a similar amount this year.

”The deer hunter numbers have depleted and continue to deplete,” Staback said. ”It doesn’t surprise me, because�if these folks are going out looking to get a crack at a deer one year, two years, three years in a row and they’re not getting that, the fourth year they’re not going to buy a license anymore.

”If we ever intend to build hunter numbers with young people, we’re going to have to do something to change the way we hunt whitetails.”

The other big issue that seems to be looming in Pennsylvania is the Sunday hunting debate. Staback is a big proponent of Sunday hunting and last year introduced a bill that would give the Game Commission authority to call a hunt if they wanted to. The bill never made it to the legislature.

”What I would like to see is Sunday hunting only for white-tail deer. You’d be talking only two Sundays out of a year,” Staback said. ”I think you would not only stop the drain of losing hunters, but you would get these people back again and a substantial number of new ones if they had that additional day to go.”

Staback might be opening a can of worms with that proposal. To allow only white-tail deer hunting might get some bear and other hunters in a stir. I also believe his outlook on what Sunday hunting would do to increase hunter numbers and projections of the economy might be a tad over inflated especially when as he says, it would only involve two Sundays. But, he is a politician and they tend to say what people want to hear.

It certainly appears as though the next year or two will be interesting ones for Pennsylvania hunters and landowners.

Tom Remington