Washington County Sportsmen and Conservation League

©1998 Washington County Sportsmen and Conservation League

Member Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs

Affiliated with The

National Rifle Association of America

August 2018 Newsletter


At the August meeting we discussed the issue of 3D printed guns. It was noted that there is a Federal law passed in 1988 that that makes it unlawful to manufacture, Import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm. There is the argument that this would allow anyone to print an untraceable gun. I contend that anyone with a lathe in his basement could manufacture a gun that would most likely work better than a printed plastic gun. Even if one was to print a gun the ammo would be detectable. The current efforts by the politicians is to prevent anyone from publishing the instructions. There haven't been any bills introduced in Harrisburg yet, but the General Assembly is not in session at this time.

We also discussed SB-1202 which has passed the senate and the house game and fisheries committee. The House will reconvene on September 12th, and there is a slight chance this bill might come to the floor for a vote. This issue will be voted on by the PFSC county representatives at the September 15th meeting in Harrisburg. Other issues in addition to SB-1202 are listed below. Let your club representative know how you feel about these issues so he or she can cast your club's vote at the next County League meeting on September 2nd . Your county representative, Lou Brandenberg, will cast your club's proxy vote at the meeting on September 15th or your club representative may cast your club's vote in person. Please read the notes on each of these resolutions before making your mind up.

  1. Do you support SB-1202 - legislation that would allow the PGC to have regulatory authority of Sunday hunting via seasons and bag management regulations, and raise the level of trespass while hunting to a primary violation? ____ Yea ____ Nay

  2. Should PFSC support a General Fund Appropriation to aid the Department of Agriculture and the PA Game Commission in the fight to address the Chronic Wasting Disease crisis facing our commonwealth? ____ Yea ____ Nay

  3. Should PFSC support a voluntary habitat stamp for anglers with the funds going towards habitat improvements? ____ Yea ____ Nay

  4. Should PFSC support a voluntary wild trout stamp with funds going towards wild trout fisheries? ____ Yea ____ Nay

  5. Should PFSC support allowing private landowners to stock Hungarian (gray) partridges for dog training and limited hunting purposes on private lands? ____ Yea ____ Nay

  6. Should PFSC support urging the PGC and the PFBC to do more to promote the VOLUNTARY use of non-lead bullets in ammunition and the use of non-lead sinkers? ____ Yea ____ Nay

  7. Should the PFSC be encouraging federal legislators and the PFBC to support federal funding to prevent further expansion of Asian carp upstream in the Ohio River and across remaining open pathways to the Great Lakes? ____ Yea ____ Nay

NOTES ON THE ABOVE RESOLUTIONS:

#1: SB-1202: Sunday Hunting & Trespass Senator Laughlin (R-Erie) has introduced Senate Bill 1202 that would permit the PGC to have authority to regulate Sunday hunting. The bill also includes language that makes trespassing while hunting a primary violation, which Game Wardens could cite for. This is not a broad trespass bill that mandates the PGC to enforce all trespass. It just raises the level of the charge to a primary violation, if the violation takes place while hunting. By amending the Game Code, it makes the language similar to that of Agricultural Trespass in the Crimes Code, but with more suitable summary and misdemeanor penalties. Also, by making trespassing while hunting a primary offense, it will be enforceable by Game Wardens, as well as other law enforcement. Bryan Burhans, PGC Executive Director, said the PGC supports the legislation. PFSC is on record in support of legislation that would give the PGC regulatory authority of Sunday hunting. However, our membership has also been on record of opposition to broad language legislation that would mandate the Game Wardens enforce all trespass. However this bill's language only increases the level of the violation, thus giving it more bite, but does not make it a mandate. Here is a link to the co-sponsor memo bill.

#2: Support for general fund appropriation in response to the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) crisis -- Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), is a 100% fatal disease in captive and free-range deer. In recent years an increasing number of wild and captive deer have been detected with this disease. -- While the PGC has no regulatory authority over captive deer farms, they are still spending millions of dollars from the game fund (sportsmen's dollars) on both wild and captive CWD related issues. -- Information provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) indicates the PGC has spent well over $6 million combating CWD. Specific expenditures for CWD surveillance, control and research since 2013 are: 2013 - $518,247 2014 - $640.732 2015 - $603,782 2016 - $775,724 2017 - $1,772,595 Total spent since 2003 = $6,606,116 -- Although the General Rule of the Game Code states the Game Fund shall be used for "contingent expenses," those expenses shall also be "reasonably necessary." The crisis known as CWD is not a reasonable condition, and is not just a wildlife problem. -- Our Commonwealth's wildlife is the property of all our citizens. The Pennsylvania Game Commission serves as the steward. Since CWD poses such a risk to the entire wild and farmed cervid population, a special general fund appropriation should be considered to help address this crisis.

#3 & 4: Habitat and Wild Trout Stamps for Anglers Some commissioners within the PFBC have proposed the idea of a VOLUNTARY habitat stamp for anglers to purchase and the funds would be dedicated to habitat improvements. Some commissioners have proposed the idea of a VOLUNTARY Wild Trout Stamp with the funds to be dedicated to expenses associated with wild trout fisheries.

#5: Stocking Hungarian Partridge for Dog Training on Private Lands Hungarian (gray) partridges are strong fliers, liking agricultural landscapes, and decades ago were stocked in PA. These birds are native to Europe but have become naturalized in some areas of the western US. Some hunters have proposed to the PGC they be allowed to release these birds for dog training. As of right now, the state does not allow the release of Hungarian partridge -- only mallards, quail, pheasants, and chukars can be released. The PGC board gave preliminary approval to this at their July meeting. See the attached summary of their meeting.

#6: Use of Non-Lead Ammunition and Non-Lead Sinkers The use of lead bullets for hunting has been implicated in the poisoning of bald eagles and the use of lead sinkers has now been implicated in the poisoning of loons. Non-lead shells are already required for waterfowl hunting. Examples of non-lead bullets for game hunting would be copper bullets. Examples of non-lead sinkers for fishing would be tin or tungsten sinkers.

#7: Stop Further Expansion of Asian Carp up the Ohio River and Great Lakes The federal government, in cooperation with other agencies, is proposing to upgrade the Asian carp deterrent facilities near Chicago, Illinois to prevent Asian Carp from entering Lake Michigan. The upgrade will cost an initial $275 million for construction with annual operating costs of $20 million a year in order to protect the $7 billion fishing industry and $16 billion boating industry in the Great Lakes. Asian carp could conceivably infest Lake Erie, the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers and tributaries. Asian carp have been found in the Ohio River in Wheeling WV, just a few miles downstream of Pittsburgh. Once the carp reach the Great Lakes anywhere, it's an entirely open system to Lake Erie, where suitable habitat for spawning has been identified at Presque Isle Bay. There is nothing to stop Asian carp from traversing run of-river dams and locks in the Ohio River. Asian carp could conceivably move up the Allegheny to Freeport, PA, and up the Monongahela to Fairmont, WV.

We had a good turnout at the Youth Field Day last Saturday. We had 68 or 70 kids depending on who did the counting. Thanks and congratulations go to the Canonsburg club members for all the hard work in setting up and running a first rate day for the kids. We received many thanks and praises from the parents.

We are glad to hear that George Block is doing well after having a hip replaced last week.

The board of game commissioners had their July meeting last week. A summary can be read by clicking here.

The next meeting will be Thursday, September 6th at 7:30PM at the Canonsburg Sportsmen's Club.


Chet