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Bureaucrat

Minnesota Deer Density Initiative

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low deer numbers is SE mn??? gasp. i thought everything down there was rosy with apr's being implemented?

it depends on who you're asking. Much of 346 and 349 are still a little higher than they should be, judging by the browse lines everywhere. The rest of the Zone is probably right where they should be or even a bit low on average.

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Is that what you think the public stakeholder process intended last time around? (Sorry not directed at "you" mntatonka....just at any deer hunter in the state) full-47236-45302-10157391_52480441096317

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I was at the meeting in Little Falls the other night , the main talk was about how none of the DNR numbers make any cents . Sounds like a lot of politics . We need hunters in the DNR not tree huggers

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The most important thing is their modeling is off and many wildlife managers agree. Now just get the ones that do the modeling and their bosses to agree.

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The most important thing is their modeling is off and many wildlife managers agree. Now just get the ones that do the modeling and their bosses to agree.

Yep...that's the hope. There's a number of quotes out there from Marrett Grund dating back to around '08 stating that the "model just isn't working correctly". Apparently, either Grund decided to shut up and toe the party line, or he got complacent....

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I was proud to be a member of MDHA when I saw this letter from Mark J. to Comm. Landwehr. With any luck, this is a strong beginning to getting some changes made http://mndeerhunters.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/May2014TomLandwehrLtrReDeerMgtHuntingRegs.pdf

If you're as pleased with this letter as I was, it would be a great idea to send Mark and Denis a note saying "thanks". You can find their email addresses here http://mndeerhunters.com/en/contact-mdha/

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I was proud to be a member of MDHA when I saw this letter from Mark J. to Comm. Landwehr. With any luck, this is a strong beginning to getting some changes made http://mndeerhunters.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/May2014TomLandwehrLtrReDeerMgtHuntingRegs.pdf

If you're as pleased with this letter as I was, it would be a great idea to send Mark and Denis a note saying "thanks". You can find their email addresses here http://mndeerhunters.com/en/contact-mdha/

Woo Hoooooo! Sheesh, I might have to actually join. Good job MDHA!

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So the letter says, Hunters and their organization want more deer everywhere. Do everything to have more deer. Even in areas where a high deer population might be hurting the moose, we want more deer. If the deer are eating the crops and stored forage, we want more deer.

Big surprise.

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Woo Hoooooo! Sheesh, I might have to actually join. Good job MDHA!

While I've had my differences with MDHA....they truly are "the" deer group in this State. Legislators look to MDHA for guidance/leadership. Joining the MDHA right now would be a very good idea. The more members...the stronger the organization. I'd add this as well...the more VOCAL and INVOLVED members...the stronger the org.

It isn't hard to make our voices heard. It takes a minute or two to send an email to our elected and to MDHA.

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I'm very cautiously optimistic. I've been seeing a lot of deer around even during mid-day. Probably the mosquitos are pushing the deer out of the woods. Have seen a few does with twins and even saw a yearling (1 1/2 year old) with a fawn. Been seeing mostly antlerless deer w/o fawns, very few bucks. Hopefully they are there close by and hiding.

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Some very interesting reading from PA...keep in mind as you read it that Marrett Grund and Lou Cornicelli studied under Gary Alt.

http://www.hso_archery_forum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1937189

The article and discussion that follows sounds awfully similar to what's been going on in MN since the early 2000's. Coincidence? I think not

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Huh...you're right. Second try http://www.hso_archery_forum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1937189

Son of a .....that doesn't work either....

Last try then I'll have to try something else I guess

http://www.hso_archery_forum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1937189

Wow...no idea why it won't work...sorry

Must be something with this site because I pasted the link on another forum and it works there.

PITA..but if you type the link into a new browser window url it also works

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We'll try this, but the discussion that follows this post won't be included:

Hunters must read! Pa hunters and hunters alike!

SUMMARY FINDINGS OF AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION

OF THE PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION'S

DEER-MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

May 23, 2012

"I don't regret any decisions that I made with Pennsylvania's antlered deer. I'm not saying I did the right thing, I did the best with the knowledge I have. But making doe season two weeks, that's another issue. It's not based on science; it's based on politics."

Gary Alt; Erie Times-News; November 27, 2011

1.0 INTRODUCTION. For over a decade, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has been systematically and intentionally decimating the Commonwealth's deer herd. Although sportsmen were told that the reduction was in their best interest and would be temporary and limited, to date the herd has been decimated by 50-90% and more in some areas – rendering it nearly unhuntable in some parts of the state. The social and economic impacts have been incalculable: the ranks of hunters have been slashed by 40-50%, the interest by youth is in a precipitous decline (a threat to the future of hunting), hunting camps stand empty and "for sale" across northern-tier counties, outdoor-related family businesses have gone bankrupt, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost by the outdoor and sport-hunting industry across the Commonwealth.

Permanently decimating the dominant herbivore from a statewide ecosystem might be deemed a 100-year event in natural resource management circles. It might be compared to eliminating the caribou from the Alaskan tundra, the elephant from the African savannah, or the bison from the Great Plains. Such a draconian action threatens the almost-400-year-old American tradition of hunting in Pennsylvania, and ultimately jeopardizes our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

What, then, could be a reason for the Game Commission to risk so much?

2.0 REASONS FOR HERD REDUCTION. Combined with Green Certification (the initial cause of herd reduction), there are three reasons that the deer herd continues to be decimated – none of which are in the interest of sportsmen and recreational hunting, and all of which are in violation of state law. The reasons are: DCNR participation in the German-based Green Certification program, PGC submission to Audubon's ecosystem management/biodiversity agenda, and intense lobbying by Pennsylvania's private timber companies. Although these are the three politically-motivated reasons for herd reduction, around 2006 the PGC published three deer-management goals in an attempt to justify herd reduction – increasing forest health, improving deer health, and decreasing impacts caused by deer. The fundamental reasons for herd reduction and PGC's justification are, herein, addressed.

2.1 Green Certification. The deer-reduction plan began in 1996, when the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) of Bonn, Germany entered into its first U.S. (pilot) contractual agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Both the environmental group and DCNR capitalized on this bogus Green Certification Award Program that was designed to serve as a catalyst toward generating money for FSC and DCNR, as well as toward advancing their biodiversity agenda. By 1998, DCNR and the then-governor literally bought-into the Green-Certification program -- purchasing this "pseudo award" that they were assured would increase the sales of DCNR lumber from state forest lands throughout U.S., European, and Asian markets. As a stipulation toward receiving the award, deer were unjustly targeted to advance the environmental agenda of FSC – an "ecosystem management" agenda that promotes biodiversity (nongame animals, songbirds, and wildflowers) which is hoped to be achieved by reducing the deer herd. Quoting official state documents: "The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania announced that it will proceed with certification of the 1.2 million acres, and will submit the remainder of the 2.1 million acre state forest system to a certification evaluation in 1998." Further: "If deer populations are not reduced, the ability of both public and private landowners in Pennsylvania to meet or maintain FSC standards will be jeopardized. We recognize that the BOF (DCNR Bureau of Forestry) has no regulatory authority over the deer resource on its own lands – it is the deliberate consequence of the deer management program administered by another state agency, the PA Game Commission. The BOF's certification is therefore conditioned on the eventual resolution of this important matter." Therefore, to be awarded Green Certification, DCNR had to initiate herd reduction; to renew annual certification, DCNR had to continue to annually reduce the herd – indefinitely.

There was a problem, however; DCNR could not control the size of the deer herd. Game management is under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). This proved to pose no problem. The then-governor fired a game commissioner who opposed herd reduction, inserted new commissioners who would "toe the line", fired the Commission's executive director, and replaced him with his friend. The PGC switched Gary Alt from the bear program to serve as head of the Commission's newly-formed Deer Management Section because he was the most likely person in the Commission whom sportsmen would believe when told that herd reduction was temporary and scientifically-proven to be in their best interest. By the year 2000, the problem had been solved, herd reduction was underway, and DCNR had already been reaping the financial benefits from the Green Certification program for two years.

2.2 Timber Industry. In like fashion with DCNR, Collins Hardwood soon became the first private timber company in America to enroll in the FSC Green Certification program in the hope of increasing their domestic and international lumber sales, and in the hope that seedling regeneration of red oaks (currently their most profitable tree species) would increase following reduction of the deer herd. However, this decision to reduce deer in favor of increasing oak seedlings was scientifically unjustified and a dismal failure.

After over a decade of drastic herd reduction, the PGC's Director of the Bureau of Habitat Management, Bill Capouillez, announced that no improvement in red oak or other seedling regeneration had occurred. According to the PGC, no regeneration trends have been noted, with regeneration "up" in one year in a WMU, and "down" the next. Long-term research at Penn State indicates that deer are not the culprits behind any red oak regeneration failings, but that acid rain is; yet the PGC has ignored these scientific findings and continues to decimate the herd. According to a published article, "Forest hydrologist William Sharpe – who has chronicled the effects of acid rain in Pennsylvania for several decades – also has watched as red oaks decline and red maples become predominant. He maintains that soils in many places have become too acidic to support adequate growth of red oak. According to Dr. Sharpe, Pennsylvania's forest soils for many decades have been absorbing acidic precipitation originating in the Ohio Valley. Large mature oaks are dying, and that cannot be blamed on deer. Penn State research in the 1970s found that deer actually preferred to browse red maple over red oak, so Sharpe does not subscribe to the deer hypothesis." Again, would it not have been prudent and scientifically responsible to refer to this scientific Penn State study before initiating the deer-reduction program? Independent observation confirms an increase in seedlings of red maple and other more acid tolerant species in lieu of red oak, which is declining even though deer prefer eating red maple over red oak, and even though the deer herd has been reduced to single-digit densities in northern tier areas. Even a U.S. Forest Service 10-year study failed to note any change in the diversity of forest wildflowers.

In 1996,DCNR was the first in the U.S. to enroll into the Forest Stewardship Council program with 2.1 million acres of Pennsylvania state forest lands. However, by April 2010 a total of 34 million acres of U.S. forest lands had been enrolled in the Green Certification program, 130 million acres of North American forests, and 348 million acres of forest lands globally. Today, Pennsylvania's timber industry has engaged in an aggressive lobbying assault on the PGC's Board of Commissioners to not only maintain herd reduction, but to increase the rate of deer herd decline beyond current levels.

2.3 Ecosystem Management and Biodiversity. The Green Certification agreement between DCNR and the Forest Stewardship Council of Germany required the PGC to eliminate its traditional deer management plan that was designed to serve the interests of sportsmen and recreational hunting and to change to a new-age "ecosystem management" philosophy – even though the traditional management plan had been and remains as a directive under state law (Title 34, The Game Code). In 1999, Audubon joined this new-age agenda, and from 2001-04 Audubon designed a 362-page ecosystem-management master document with the assistance of select PGC staff. As a result, the PGC's traditional, scientifically-proven game management philosophy (maximum sustained yield: production of the optimum number of deer that could be sustained on a yearly basis without exceeding the carrying capacity and health of the forest) has been eliminated and replaced by a new-age, feel-good "ecosystem management" philosophy that disregards the PGC's chartered mission of game management and focuses on increasing the biodiversity of nongame wildlife, songbirds, wildflowers, and native shrubs. Within the past few years, ecosystem management has become the official natural resource management philosophy of both DCNR and the PGC. To achieve its goal, ecosystem management depends on the dramatic and permanent reduction of the deer herd. Ecosystem management promotes the interests of Audubon and environmental activists instead of recreational hunting and the interests of sportsmen. This new value-laden method has been instrumental in destroying the number two deer-hunting state in the nation, has cut the ranks of hunters in half, and is driving away the next-generation of sportsmen. PGC is now operating in gross and deliberate violation of Pennsylvania State Law, Title 34, Section 322©(13), and violators on the PGC staff are now subject to prosecution if and when this law is enforced.

Regardless of its illegality, the PGC's claimed science regarding ecosystem management and biodiversity is flawed. It has been stated that all of the state's 464 species of other mammals and birds are negatively impacted by deer, and so will all benefit from deer reduction. This is simply flawed scientific propaganda. Independent scientific assessment has indicated that of the approximately 70 mammals in the state, only the snowshoe hare "might" benefit from deer-herd reduction; and of the roughly 400 species of birds, only grouse and 18 species of songbirds "might" benefit from herd reduction, with 14 of those songbirds already being common to the state and one of them being the most common forest bird -- the ovenbird.

3.0 PGC's CHESAPEAKE FARMS CONNECTION. It is not likely that Calvin DuBrock (PGC's chief of wildlife management) could have succeeded for over a decade in decimating the Commonwealth's deer herd if he had not hired like-minded staffers to perpetuate the action. All three deer biologists have been hired from the same college (North Carolina State University), mentored under the same college advisors, and conducted their degree research programs at the same small 5-square-mile Chesapeake Farms agricultural sanctuary on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There they were educated to view deer as a negative element of natural ecosystems instead of in the traditional game management philosophy that views deer as a vital part of the forest and sport hunting. They were trained in a so-called "quality deer management" approach that is designed to eliminate impacts by eliminating deer, and some say that they were specifically hired to expand this five-square-mile template to a statewide level in Pennsylvania. Regardless, this they have achieved.

4.0 PGC'S JUSTIFICATION FOR HERD REDUCTION. In 2006 (6-8 years after the herd-reduction plan had been designed and initiated), the Game Commission announced three goals in an after-the-fact attempt to justify decimation of the herd – to improve forest health, to improve deer health, and to reduce impacts caused by deer. Each of these PGC excuses will, herein, be addressed.

4.1 Forest Health. The PGC's claimed science of forest health is flawed for several reasons. First, in 2006 a DCNR statewide browsing study on over 47,000 survey sites indicated that nearly 90% of forest regeneration experienced "none to light" browsing by deer, and only 4% was categorized as "heavily" or "severely" browsed. Secondly, forest regeneration has not improved after 10 year's of herd reduction, indicating that deer were not at fault for impacts to seedling regeneration – real or imagined. Thirdly, it is irresponsible that the PGC has caused such great impacts to society, tradition, and the ecosystem by decimating deer for the prospect of more oak regeneration, considering that any new seedlings will not reach maturity for at least a hundred years. In other words, what logical reason justifies the decimation of today's deer herd with such great and lasting impacts to today's citizens for the prospect of some undetermined benefit that might result 100 or more years in the future? Fourth, it is difficult for the PGC to justify herd reduction for the prospect of attempting to regenerate seedlings on the forest floor (except for food and cover for wildlife) considering that virtually all understory vegetation will be destroyed during the logging process at some undetermined date in the future. Lastly, as directed by state law in Title 34 (The Game Code): Forestry isn't a Game Commission issue; sportsmen and recreational hunting are. This legal point alone negates any attempt by the PGC to justify the deer-reduction program, demands immediate cessation of the program, and requires implementation of a deer management plan that is again in the best interest of sportsmen.

4.2 Deer Health. The PGC's claimed science regarding the need to improve deer health through herd reduction is flawed because from two separate PGC studies deer have been shown to be in "good" health in every Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) throughout the state. A nine-year embryo-count study has indicated that deer were in good health in all 22 WMUs in every one of the nine years. A second fawn-to-doe ratio study has indicated that deer have remained in good health throughout the decade. That deer are in good health is the best indicator that the forest is also in good health.

4.3 Impacts Caused by Deer. In the first paragraph on the first page of the PGC's 149-page, 10-year, deer management plan, the agency's three deer biologists wrote: "Balancing white-tailed deer impacts is the fundamental issue affecting a majority of Pennsylvania's deer management decisions." This is the "quality deer management" philosophy of Chesapeake Farms – reducing impacts by reducing deer – and it is the deer management method that was taught to all three deer biologists when they studied at Chesapeake Farms. However, at close inspection of the roughly 100 pages of Title 34 (The Game Code), nowhere in this state law are "deer impacts" mentioned as being any part of the chartered mission of the PGC.

Instead, it is specifically directed in Title 34 that the duty of the Commission shall be to "serve the interest of sportsmen by preserving and promoting our special heritage of recreational hunting and furtaking by providing adequate opportunity to hunt and trap the wildlife resources of the Commonwealth." Again on page one of the 10-year deer management plan, the PGC published this quote while deliberately removing the phrases to "serve the interest of sportsmen" and for "recreational hunting", thus attempting to give the reader the perception that their deer-reduction program was operating in adherence to state law. It is not.

In addition to the PGC, DCNR also wrote that its goal was based on eliminating impacts to the forest that are caused by deer, stated that the measurements of impacts were subjective (value-laden), and recommended that forest wildflowers (Indian cucumber root, Canada mayflower, and trilliums) be used as indicators of forest health – stating that when these wildflowers returned in greater numbers, then the herd had been lowered far enough. Penn State was given a $50,000 grant to work out the details. However, a 10-year study by Susan Stout of the U.S. Forest Service that was intended to demonstrate a return of these three wildflowers after a decade of herd reduction has recently failed. Her study shows no change in the occurrence of these wildflowers. Nevertheless, as a staunch promoter of herd reduction, her conclusion was that the herd had not been reduced far enough or long enough, and accelerated herd reduction through more antlerless allocations was recommended.

5.0 AUDIT OF PGC'S DEER PROGRAM. The audit of PGC's deer management program failed its goal on two accounts. First, the audit was fraudulently set-up with 23 "fixed" questions that were designed by the PGC staff to yield a positive response in favor of the agency's deer management program. This was achieved, and as a result produced a fraudulent audit report. Secondly, the person (Scot Williamson) who was hired to conduct the audit was the very same person who (10 years before) had been appointed by the PGC to design the deer-reduction program. It was Scot Williamson in the year 2000 who, as the PGC-appointed chairman of the Deer Management Working Group, recommended reduction of the deer herd using increased antlerless permits, longer doe seasons, the concurrent buck/doe season, DMAP, and switching from a county-based system of management to Wildlife Management Units. Therefore, the audit was not only conducted by the original designer of the deer-reduction program, but the auditor was also assisted by the PGC by being given "fixed" questions that were designed to yield a positive audit response in favor of the PGC. This represents a waste of $95,000 of taxpayer dollars, ethics violation, abuse of power, violation of the public trust, and likely other violations.

6.0 INCOMPETENCE OR DECEPTION. In the 20-year period from 1966-1985, Game Commission harvest reports indicate that an average of 129,393 deer were harvested per year – ranging from 99,686 deer in 1970 to 161,428 deer harvested in 1985. In 1986 the PGC changed its procedure for estimating the annual harvest from primarily a report format to a calculated method. As a result, in 1986 the harvest was calculated to be 300,014 – almost double the harvest from the previous year. During the ensuing 14-year period prior to 2000 (1986-1999), Game Commission calculated harvest reports indicate that an average of 379,137 deer were harvested per year – ranging from 300,014 deer in 1986 to 430,583 deer harvested in 1995.

During the past six years (from 2005-2010) the PGC has claimed that a stable deer population has been achieved. PGC annual harvest estimates for these six supposedly-stable years range from 308,920 to 361,560 deer, with an average of 333,338 deer harvested per year. Considering: (1) that the PGC claims that its goal has been to significantly reduce the statewide deer herd, (2) that a Game Commissioner has stated that the herd may have been reduced to only 1-2 deer per square mile in some northern tier areas, (3) that another Commissioner stated that the herd may have been reduced by up to 90% in some central-county areas, and (4) that a PGC biologist stated that deer had been virtually eliminated in some areas and still seedling regeneration had not improved, then it is curious that the Game Commission now reports an annual harvest that is equivalent to the harvests reported during the "heydays" of deer hunting from the 1960s to 1999 – when there were 40% more hunters and before the herd-reduction program was set in motion.

6.1 Harvest Estimate. The PGC's harvest estimates are so exaggerated at an average of 333,000 deer per year for the past 6 years that it can only be based on incompetence or deception. Scientific scrutiny of PGC's harvest estimates by John Eveland indicates that there would need to be 1.2-1.7 million deer (or 50 deer per square mile) in order for sportsmen to harvest that many deer. PGC's harvest estimates are, therefore, scientifically proven to be preposterous – a greatly exaggerated deception. (See a report entitled "An Independent Assessment of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Estimated 2011 Deer Harvest", at www.acsl-pa.org.

6.2 Predation. The PGC has made no effort to account for the high impact of predation on the deer herd. PGC studies this decade indicated that in forestlands about 43% of fawns up to 3 months of age are taken by predators--about evenly by bears and coyotes. Bobcats take a small percentage. Predation accounted for about 28% of fawns in agricultural lands. Factoring this high fawn loss to Eveland's harvest and population calculations would require an increase in the population from 1.3 million to over1.6 million deer in order to yield annual harvests of 333,000 deer (as is being claimed by the PGC). That's about 60 deer per square mile on every square mile of forested land throughout the state, or an average of 36 deer on every square mile of land area in the state – including every backyard and barnyard, industrial park and amusement park, playground and ball field, and town and city street in the Commonwealth. It is obvious that statewide deer densities do not even approach these numbers, and such exaggerated annual harvest claims by the PGC can only be attributed to incompetence or deception.

7.0 CONCLUSION. For over a decade, foresters and environmentalists have succeeded in decimating deer (by 50-90% in many areas) as well as sportsmen (by 40-50%) in the Commonwealth, an action that may eventually jeopardize our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Documents indicate that the deer-reduction plan was begun in 1996 in order for DCNR to achieve a Green Certification award toward increasing the sales of timber from state forest lands; and to eliminate the PGC's traditional, scientific deer management methodology that had been designed to serve the interests of sportsmen and recreational hunting, and to replace it with a new-age ecosystem management philosophy that favors biodiversity (nongame animals, songbirds, and wildflowers).

Investigations of forest health, deer health, and biodiversity indicate that neither the forest nor deer were in poor health, and after 10 years of herd reduction, no changes have occurred to these parameters. In his farewell statement upon ending his term as PGC Commissioner, Tom Boop wrote,

"We moved away from density goals to goals of healthy deer and healthy habitat, which are not readily definable, and which are value laden and almost wholly subjective. I, for one, believe that our deer management plan since 2000 has failed not only our sportsmen and women but all the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I feel that our 100-year deer hunting tradition, in a short period of ten (10) to twelve (12) years, has been largely destroyed. Quite candidly, ladies and gentlemen, there is no “sound science” with this program. We now have an almost completely subjective program that is not based on science and I will forever cringe when I hear the term “sound science” as applied to the current deer management program of this agency. What we have...is a failed program that needs to be “scrapped” and we need to start over with the best and brightest professionals that we can hire... we have lost a great deal, we have gained very little, and I, for one, do not believe that the ability to sell timber from certified forests or having some trillium on the ground comes even remotely close to compensating for what we have lost. "

In like fashion, a former high-ranking Game Commission official recently wrote to the Board of Commissioners,

"I am concerned AND angered by the mismanagement of the deer herd in PA under the guise of biodiversity. A feigned lack of forest regeneration caused by the deer was a pretext used to correlate and establish such a fact, which, in fact, never existed. Research by Penn State professors show acid rain, rodents, ferns, et. al. have more impact on a lack of new regeneration than deer. I saw this happening during my career, repeatedly."

To date, herd reduction continues unabated, with the PGC having increased 2011 antlerless permits by 12.5% over the 2010 allocation. The ranks of sportsmen have declined from a once-high of upwards of 1.2 million hunters, to a reported low of 672,000 in 2010. The number of youth hunters is in a precipitous decline. Many sportsmen no longer travel to the northern-tier region because of the lack of deer, and camp-owners are unable to sell their camps because of lack of interest in hunting in the region. Lodges, motels, and family-owned businesses lament the loss of the once-vibrant economy resulting from deer hunters, and too many have experienced bankruptcy. As one storeowner stated, "Selling bottled water to a few bikers and bird-watchers can never replace what I have lost from the sales of groceries and outdoor-supplies to camps and hunters." Nevertheless, in 2011 David Putnam of the PGC's Board of Commissioners again approved increasing antlerless license allocations for the 2012 season within WMU 2G (northern tier counties) from 23,000 to 33,000 – a 43% increase in doe permits – after the staff had requested an increase of 86% from 23,000 to 43,000 antlerless permits.

The information that is presented in this report is not based on supposition, but was uncovered from 18 inches of original documents – primarily DCNR, Audubon, timber industry, and Game Commission documents. Decimation of the statewide deer herd continues at great cost to the Commonwealth – to sportsmen and tradition, to jobs and economy, to nature and the functioning ecosystem, to the future financial solvency and autonomy of the Game Commission, and ultimately to our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. According to Commissioner Tom Boop, "The deer program simply has to change or the agency will fail." What has been gained is not for science, but for timber-industry revenue, politics, and environmental agenda. According to Gary Alt, "Its not based on science; it's based on politics.".

The names of the few people who are responsible for perpetrating this event – either for money, advancing their agenda, or both – are fully known but have not been disclosed in this report. Documentation indicates that only about a half-dozen people initiated the herd-reduction program, and less than 20 people have been responsible for perpetrating the program over the past decade. It is now time for decision-makers to realize that the PGC's deer-management mission is specifically directed by state law in Title 34 to "serve the interests of sportsmen for recreational hunting", instead of serving foresters and radical environmentalists. Regardless of the wishes of DCNR, the Forest Stewardship Council, Audubon, and the timber industry, there is no reference in Title 34 that it is the agency's mission to reduce deer toward serving forestry or environmental agendas. The agency was chartered long ago as the Pennsylvania Game Commission, not as a division of DCNR, an arm of Audubon, nor a partner of timber companies. State law does not direct the Game Commission to serve the interests of foresters and to reduce impacts that "might" be caused by game animals. Six staff members of the PGC do not have the authority to avoid or alter state law at their discretion. Nevertheless, this is what they have done. It is now time for decision-makers to enforce the current violations of Title 34, and to return the Commonwealth to the traditional scientific management of our state mammal.

A comprehensive listing of the findings from John Eveland's independent, scientific investigation of the Game Commission's deer-management program is available at www.acsl-pa.org.

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That is sad. Two points though, why haven't the deer hunters of PA not rebelled and refused to shoot antlerless deer? And, with fewer hunters going afield, will the herd eventually rebound as fewer hunters pursue them? I'm sure this is part of what is driving management in MN as well.

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PA instituted APRs in 2002, which are designed to restrict buck harvest and increase doe harvest. Seems like PA has a lot of factors working against the deer herd and average hunter there right now.

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That is sad. Two points though, why haven't the deer hunters of PA not rebelled and refused to shoot antlerless deer?

I've had the same thought about MN deer hunters

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Too many years of them being told to pass on the yearling buck and take a doe instead and the liberalization of bonus tags they started in the 90's that allowed hunters to harvest several deer in a given season in some areas rather than limiting every hunter to one single deer. Now some hunters are realizing that the philosophy of passing on a buck and taking a few does for the freezer may not always be the best solution for sustainable and successful hunting. In areas where the population is skewed so far in favor of does as it was where QDM was born it is a viable option but no solution should ever be seen as universal and all of these proposals should be tailored specifically to individual areas to solve individual problems.

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