September 25, 2020

Pennsylvania Hunters Facing Fee Increases

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So let me ask you a question. If you were debating whether or not to go hunting, how much would you be willing to pay? Perhaps you are an avid hunter spending nearly every day the season is open hunting for deer, bear, pheasant, or whatever your fancy. Or, maybe you are one of those one or two day a year hunters, perhaps a last minute decider. How much would you pay?

Would you give $29.00 for a license, plus $10.00 for a pheasant stamp, an additional $5.00 for a turkey permit and pile on top of that a $20.00 fee to hunt on state lands? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t but this is what is being proposed in Pennsylvania because the Game Commission is running out of money. The increases would be about 50%.

The money has to come from somewhere to meet the demands of the people to maintain a healthy wildlife population and history has placed the burden squarely on the shoulders of the hunter – fair or not, right or wrong.

What is making the proposed increase that much harder to swallow in the keystone state is the fact that many hunters are angry about the results they’re getting from the deer herd management. Many think the state has botched the whole thing and ruined what was once good hunting.

Hunters are saying that the way the game department is allocating the permits and managing wildlife management zones in an attempt to bolster a trophy buck population, is destroying the herd. Many also say that there are too many coyotes that are taking a toll on fawns – some even go so far as to say that officials are importing the animals.

Whatever the commission is bent on doing, hunters aren’t happy but they also realize their hands are tied and there isn’t much they can do about it. Those who are concerned about the future of hunting in Pennsylvania worry that an increase of any amount to the license fees as well as too few deer, will further deter prospective hunters from giving it a try.

The middle of next month, the game commission will have its final meeting to decide on fee increases and finalize permit allocations for the WMDs throughout the state.

*Update*

Christian Berg, outdoor writer for the Morning Call, has an article this morning that gives a bit more insight into the politics behind many of Pennsylvania’s game management decisions and why the April meeting of the commission will be a hot one.

Tom Remington

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