You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Pa. Game Commission's new deer hunting rules promote 'bloodthirsty greed' (opinion)

York Daily Record logo York Daily Record 3/28/2020 Greg Levengood, York Daily Record
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

I remember when the Game Commission was driven by conservation minded individuals who held ethics, fair chase, and our cherished sport of hunting in high regard. Sadly, wildlife management has now become subservient to fundraising and recruiting new hunters. The priority is to generate license sales, which is done by facilitating killing under the guise of “hunting opportunities.”

This killing mentality is very troubling as the quality of the hunt has become a distant second to the quantity of the kills. Over the years we have seen this transformation taking place in the Pennsylvania Game News, and it is readily apparent with the Seasons & Bag Limits that are being proposed for 2020-21.  

The Board of Commissioners have proposed a statewide concurrent firearms deer seasons for next year which will run for 14 days including three Saturdays and a Sunday, along with the opportunity to purchase up to four DMAP tags. But the real kicker is the ability to continue shooting at deer before retrieving and tagging the first one. Game hogs and outlaws must think they died and went to heaven!  

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Imagine a hunter sitting in a tree stand with a buck tag, a doe tag, and four DMAP tags in his pocket. Along comes a herd of deer… since you can legally shoot six of them, he starts blasting. Suppose he drops a buck and a doe, and several of them run away leaving blood trails. Which one does he go after? What about the other wounded deer? What about the two that are down – does he take the time to dress them or go after the cripples? When he ultimately takes inventory of the carnage, how does he get multiple deer out of the woods? These are all questions that a hunter should never have to ask. Years ago under the sport program we called these people “slobs,” now we encourage such boorish behavior.  

a deer in a field of tall grass: November 30 kicks off the 2019 firearms season for deer in Pa. © Karen Wolf November 30 kicks off the 2019 firearms season for deer in Pa.

More: Pennsylvania deer harvest best in 15 years, Game Commission says

More: Your complete guide to the 2020 spring hunting season in Pennsylvania

Every time we pull the trigger or release a bow string, we should be humbled by the awesome responsibility of taking a life and savor the times we are blessed to take one of God’s creatures. The incentive for hunters to move on to the next target and kill as many deer as they can shows a total disrespect for the animal and is nothing more than bloodthirsty greed. Nobody needs to kill more than one deer at a time.   

Then there’s the proposal to allow an archery deer hunter to carry a muzzleloader – “on the off chance that they could shoot at a bear should it wander by” according to recently retired (thank God) Director of Wildlife Protection Randy Shoup. In other words, you want to give deer and bear hunters the “additional hunting opportunity” to kill an animal they are not really hunting – just in case it wanders by. Why? This is not hunting, it’s just plain killing! Why not just appreciate the sight of a beautiful animal to add to the enjoyment of the day; why do you have to kill it? Make a decision – am I going to hunt deer, or am I going to hunt bear? I have never killed a bear but when I do, I certainly don’t want it to be by accident while I’m deer hunting. These “additional hunting opportunities” are nothing more than additional killing opportunities.

All of these proposals are just plain wrong on so many fronts, yet according to what I read in Pennsylvania Outdoor News the Commissioners had “no concerns.” Are you kidding me? How can you not have any concerns? What happened to the Game Commission I grew up with when the ethics bar was high? Today we see an agency that has drifted away from the thrill of the hunt and is selling the thrill of the kill. Is this the message we want to send to our new hunters and the non-hunting public? If I was an anti-hunter, I would have a field day with these proposals.

I realize they don’t have an answer to the CWD issue, and perhaps that’s the driving force behind this killing mentality. But let’s not forget about the 90% of people who don’t hunt, and the image we are portraying to them. I would like to be perceived by the public as a “sportsman,” not a greedy killer. Let’s hope they reconsider these proposals and the image they are putting out there.

Please forward your comments to the Game Commission prior to the April 6th meeting at pgccomments@pa.gov. Thank you.

Greg Levengood is a sportsmen’s advocate living in Boyertown, Pa.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Pa. Game Commission's new deer hunting rules promote 'bloodthirsty greed' (opinion)

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from York Daily Record

York Daily Record
York Daily Record
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon