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April 18, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Pennsylvania Plans Deer Program Audit

What should a state do when it’s deer program divides it’s deer hunters? Well, Pennsylvania plans to get help—from an out-of-state, third party. 

From the Intelligencer Journal:

The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee on Friday issued its "request for proposals" on conducting an audit of the deer management program.

"The changes that have occurred in the commission's approach to deer management have been welcomed and accepted by some segments of the state's population, but opposed and rejected by others," the request states.

"The issue is one that has become increasingly controversial and, among some, has engendered suspicion and mistrust of the intentions of the PGC [(Pennsylvania Game Commission)].

"In response to these issues and concerns … (the Legislature asked the committee) to conduct an independent third-party, science-based evaluation of the state's current deer management plan program and practices."

Seem like a good idea? 


NH Philosopher

Yes. When it comes to wildlife management it always behooves us little folk when an independent 3rd party comes in evaluates the deer herd. The liberals and the anti's are usually blown away when they hear that the population exceed the habitats carrying capacity by X% and the only real way to control the population without costing taxpayers a red cent is through hunting.

I say go for it - and I'll be buying an out of state set of tags for PA in anticipation of the results.

I live in PA

This article is talking about the third party auditing of the herd management. Already the herds are low (outside of suburbia) because too many deer have been killed off, so it's not about the population exceeding the habitat. It's about the mismanagement of the PGC by the previous commissioner.

NH Philosopher

Agreed - but in order to prove that they have to audit the herd. Weather (summer & winter) as well as HD were big this/last year in killing off deer - not sure hunting is the issue. Regardless - the PA herd, from my experience, is not low outside of suburbia, quite the opposite (but I hunt Private Land).

Third party evaluation will prove this - to one end of the spectrum or the other - rarely does it come out nicely in the middle.

I hunt PA and this past season was blessed with many encounters with our white tailed friends. I eagerly await results.


Obviously we need to wait and see just who is the winning bidder and what bias they might bring to the task. I ain't buying into the disinterested third party line one bit! They will have an agenda.

Scientific management of our game resources is a good idea, don't get me wrong. We just need to make sure we are looking at real science and not politically driven hogwash.


What happens when the third party disagrees with the other two and offers up a radical new idea ?
If a public majority vote is out then turn to the people whose jobs and reputations are on the line,they are called wildlife biologists.They are not always right,but they always care.


I'm with SilverArrow... it all depends on who this "independent third party" is. For example, The Sierra Club and Ducks Unlimited are both in favor of wetlands protection and, at least on paper, support hunting as a management practice... but i know which one I'd prefer as a third party.

John R

I'd be interested to learn a little more about what the issues are. The article didn't provide much info about that.


I have hunted central pa for the past 20 years. The past several years have been poor at best. Were there too many deer before their new practices? Yes. There was also too many does, but they have gone too far. If they get a third party, who gets to choose the party? The ones that pay their bills? I doubt it. If things don't change soon there won't be anybody to pay their bills. 12 year olds don't have as much patience as I do. There may be alot of deer in certain places, but not on public lands in central and N. central pa. You are lucky to see one a day.


As a 25 year old PA Hunter (Warren County) I've noticed several things over the past few years.

1. A rise in coyotes: Are these creatures producing faster than they can be managed, or is no one concerned with them? I never saw one growing up. I see more coyotes than deer now. My dad told me recently that he heard that a hunter in PA shot a coyote with an ear tag. When he called the number on the tag he found out it had been raised and sold to an auto insurance company. If this is true then PA's hunters (and our "loyal" game commission) better take action. Either way, coyotes are more prevalent and hurting the deer herd.

2. More "Private" and "Posted" land. The PGC gets quotas from insurance companies based on deer related claims. So while it might appear as if there are deer in PA (as related to claims), they seem to all be hiding out on land without hunting access. People have a right to post land, but this needs to be accounted for when measuring the herd.

3. Fewer shots on opening day. When I was 12 (1994) my first memory of the deer woods were seeing 10-15 does together and hearing gunshots every twenty minutes. Now a doe doesn't even pass me by and I hear less than five shots the entire first day.

With all our restrictions now, it's still nice to know that 8 year olds who haven't had a safety class can still wipe out anything they see on "youth days".

Appreciative PA Hunter

As far as I am concerned the PGC is doing a great job managing the deer herd. I hunt public land and have seen and gotten bigger better deer since the new regulations have come about.

For all those who wish to see 20 deer in a day you have to realize that is not healthy for the deer population or any other population for that matter. All you have to do is go look at the browse lines that still exhist is most wooded areas because of the deer population.

I don't even think a third party is necessary. PGC bravo!

Scott in Ohio

I grew up in western PA and have hunted there since 1982. I hunt deer on private, posted land. There are definately fewer does, but larger bucks. In general I agree with the newer regulations but it will be tougher for my son who just started to hunt this past fall. I think the regulations need to be tweaked but not returned to the old days when all we ever shot were spikes and fork horns.


The gameless commission is a joke. They cater to audobon society and the timber industry. IF youve researched the topic and attended meetings it would be quite obvious. Do some internet searches and what you find may open your eyes. Use keywords deer management and audobon. Deer management and dcnr. And others. Plenty of incriminating evidence.

The deer harvest this season was a fifty year low. The buck harvest a complete joke. The legislators need more than an audit, they need to clean house. Id say 99% of hunters agree.


i don't understand this article but i do live in PA and know that the way they set up the amount of deer you can kill sucks


me again i also agree with the guy 5 coments up about the rise in coyotes. the good thing about that is more coyote rugs


The game commission is a joke. The goal for our wmu was 18,000 antlerless deer. That was supposed to "stabilize" the herd. Mighty funny though, according to the gameless commission a harvest of only 16,500 REDUCED the herd when it was much larger 4 years ago by 7%!!! Explain that one Executive director Roe you clown!!


There is no rise in coyotes. Their population is stable and possibly declined slightly overall in last couple of years.

Shouldnt effect our deer numbers one bit though. We dont control the relatively small percentage they kill. We do control the doe tags. Less doe tags is the answer.


Nipsey, I was looking through the allocations, the harvest goals and comparing them to the previous harvests when the herd was larger and we were reducing it, and as you say, it makes no sense.

Several wmus deer populations had been reduced by less tags than we have in them now, and supposedly now we are only stabilizing the herd.

Id say if people cannot see blatant proof such as this, they really dont want to and have other agendas...


..........Its also funny as all get out to see the same handful of guys that are brother in laws, friends and employees of/to the game commission. They post nonsense on a couple of message boards and try their best at damage control (hi guys!). Thing is its like trying to sweep up a mudslide with a whisk broom.



"As far as I am concerned the PGC is doing a great job managing the deer herd. I hunt public land and have seen and gotten bigger better deer since the new regulations have come about."

That is a lie, straight from a liar. There are FAR fewer and the quality has NOT improved. The number of large bucks has decreased, but because of ar, not at the rate the rest of the herd has. There are FAR fewer small buck, FAR fewer antlerless deer and somewhat fewer big buck.

Our herd is in shambles. Hunter satisfaction is nonexistent, the game commission is being audited, petitioned and sued!!

A complete overhaul of the agency is needed. Too many enviro-flake extremeists have taken over.


Over on the Pa outdoors message board, http://www.paoutdoors.proboards81.com/ there sure are alot of inconsistencies and lies pointed out about the game commission. Lots of contradictions among the pgcs own numbers. Many of which point out the canned deer plan supporting statements the pgc makes regularly to be lies. Some real intelligent guys who can really point out the truth and back it up. I learned alot there and anyone who wants to see the game commission for what they are should check out the site!


The game commission needs broken down and rebuilt. Eco-freaks have infiltrated our once hunter friendly management agency. They sit on the board of commissioners and they sit on the governors advisory council.

You cannot have good hunting, hunter satisfaction and hunter retention with ecoextremists who dont see the sport itself as any priority at all running the show.





They cry like idiots for more money, let audubon and the other ecowieneys pay them!! The idiots wanted pgc to kill the deer that they call "woods wreckers". Well Pgc complied...and then some!

2 of our ecoextreme worst commissioners of ALL TIME are leaving with expired terms. Good riddance Pallone and Shleiden! You two can go straight to hell!


Why are hunters powerless? Why can't we get the game commission fired and their pensions REVOKED? Anyone that hunts on public land in rifle season knows that the game commission has DESTROYED deer hunting in Pa. Those hunting on private land with disability permits get to kill up to 7 deer in the early seasons. The rest of us can't find one deer.

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