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Outdoors notebook: Game Commission receives suggestions from field | TribLIVE.com
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Outdoors notebook: Game Commission receives suggestions from field

Tribune-Review
| Sunday, November 16, 2014 5:57 p.m.

Pennsylvania Game Commissioners were presented with several suggestions when they met recently in Delmont.

Sam Rugh, of Sportsmen’s Association of Greensburg, suggested the commission bring back its “triple trophy” program. It honored hunters who shot an antlered deer, black bear and turkey in the same license year.

The timing is good because with bear populations at an all-time high, chances for recording a triple trophy are higher than ever, Rugh said. Such a program would highlight the success of hunters and perhaps generate more interest in the sport, he added.

Commissioner Ralph Martone of New Castle said the commission once held an annual banquet to honor triple trophy hunters. It probably can’t do that again, but perhaps it can find ways to give them recognition, he said.

The commission offers a triple trophy patch for sale, said board president Bob Schlemmer of Export.

Another man suggested the commission increase the price of elk licenses so they’re comparable to similar tags in western states.

The cost of applying for a tag could remain $10, he said. But an actual license should sell for $100 for Pennsylvania residents and $700 for nonresidents, he said. Elk licenses for nonresidents in western states go for $500 to $900, he said.

Jeff Grove, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, said members are experiencing increasing crop damage from deer and black bears. He suggested the board overlap bear season with deer season in more wildlife management units.

Wayne Baughman of Salem Township, a former president of the bureau’s Westmoreland County chapter, said farmers also would appreciate concurrent buck and doe seasons and a Saturday opener to the firearms deer season. He said they remain opposed to Sunday hunting, however.

Habitat support

More than 20 Pennsylvania energy industry companies and organizations raised more than $12,000 to benefit National Wild Turkey Federation state wildlife and habitat projects.

Representatives of the companies gathered at Seven Springs Resort for the second annual Energizing Conservation event. It has raised $65,000 over the past five years.

The Federation also has convinced energy companies Range Resources and NiSource Midstream Services to support wildlife by restoring well and tank pad sites. They recently enhanced 33 acres in Washington County’s Cross Creek Park, transforming it from overgrown fields of invasive, non-native vegetation to quality wildlife habitat.

Changing times

The “average” poacher might not be who you think.

According to Christopher Deal, a Game Commission officer in Butler County, doing investigations these days increasingly means having to interview suspects in jail for other crimes.

“Many times, the ‘average’ poacher is not the hunter that got excited and made a dumb mistake,” Deal said. “But it is increasingly common that poachers are individuals with drug problems, records of other violent crimes, and/or have mental health issues.”

Delisting

Four kinds of fish are close to coming off the state’s “threatened” species list.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission gave preliminary approval to a proposal upgrading the status of bluebreast, gill, spotted darter and Tippecanoe darters. Recent survey work revealed more of the fish spread over a wider area than previously thought, said Chris Urban, chief of the commission’s natural diversity section.

All are found in Western Pennsylvania, primarily in the Ohio and Allegheny river basins and in French Creek.

Final approval of the delisting of the species is expected when the board meets in January.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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