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

February 2018 Newsletter

The executive directors of both the Fish Commission and the Game Commission were at the last Federation board meeting. Funding was the main issue for both agencies. Both agencies are exploring which service to cut in order to stay solvent. I told you how last May or June one Representative, Malony, from Berks County talked Bud Cook and Pam Snyder into voting to table a bill that would have allowed both agencies to get a license increase. John Arway reports that the Fish Commission staff has been cut from 432 down to 378. Some things that are being explored are selling voluntary habitat and or musky stamps, maybe require launch permits, or require those of us with grandfathered lifetime licenses to purchase trout stamps or perhaps offer a voluntary senior trout stamp. Other possibilities include charging a fee to park, watch birds, or hunt on Fish Commission property. The situation is getting pretty serious. The Fish Commission is being held hostage primarily because a group of so-called sportsmen don't like the way the Game Commission is managing deer and they are being supported by one or two members of the House Game and Fisheries committee.

Bryan Burhan reported that the Game Commission is short 40 game wardens. He talked about the name change. The reason for the change is that most states use the term and now is the opportune time to make the change because they are out of the old patches and the name change will be added to any new vehicles. He spent most of his time talking about CWD. The Commission is spending about $1.2 million a year on CWD. Last year there were 25 positive tests, so far this year the number is up to 55 with 4,000 samples to analyze. There are two DMAs (Disease management Areas) and they are being expanded whenever a positive test occurs outside the boundaries. There are positive captive deer right now behind a single fence. A double fence is needed to protect the wild population but the Ag Dept. (which was given control over game farms by the legislature a number of years ago) will not require it. There were two 6 month old fawns that tested positive from one of the bins on a DMA.

They sold 46,000 pheasant stamps this season and are applying for a federal grant to get the production up to 200,000 birds next year. The Somerset WPRA will be deleted. Other things being considered are requiring a body harness to hunt out of a tree stand, and getting better access to game lands for disabled hunters. The second buck tag will not be discussed. And as always they are looking at ways to cut expenses.

We just completed another annual Sportsmen's Show at the Crown Center mall. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to put on one of these shows. This show would not be possible without the people who do all the work; Lou Brandenberg, who probably spent a hundred hours or more just contacting the vendors and exhibitors, Bernie Dhans and his crew from the McDonald Sportsmen's Club, who set up and take down the Co. League display every year and then set up their own display, Bud and Peggy Bice from the Marianna Field and Stream Club, the Keystone Coonhunters, the Avella Sportsmen's club, and the Indian Springs Sportsmen's Club were all instrumental in making the show as success.

The thought occurred to me, how many years have we been doing this? I've been involved with the County League for only about 16 or 17 years. These shows were going on long before I became involved so I started asking when? I was told that Jack Dalbo, and Keith Small were involved in organizing the very first show at the Washington Mall. They both tell me that the County League's first show was 27 years ago, so that makes this our 28th show. Those of you who are old enough to remember the shows at the Washington mall recall that the mall was packed then. It was shoulder to shoulder all over the mall and you had to stand in line just to talk to one of the vendors. Not so any more, but we, at the County League, think it is important to continue to promote our sport so we continue to struggle on.

I thought our show went pretty well this year. This was the first year that we awarded the "George Block Conservation Scholarship". I was lucky enough to be selected to be on the committee to pick the nominee which included Dennis Fredericks, Mike Weber, George Block, and Kathy Ward. We had a tremendous number of applicants to consider and selecting only one out of many worthy of the award was a difficult decision. We selected Elka Hoelsken, a senior at Burgettstown high school. Elka's volunteer experiences include stints at the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, and Raccoon State Park. She spent a summer working for the DCNR where she worked on projects like widening and installing natural erosion control devices on trails and inventorying 1500 trees. Elka is passionate about conservation and dreams about becoming an environmental scientist. She has been accepted to the Pennsylvania University College of Agricultural Science this fall. We congratulate Elka for her achievements and wish her success in her future endeavors.

We thank Dan Dorgan for his excellent job of MC'ing the Sporting Dog Show and all the participants who brought their dogs in. We thank Matt Weinzen, our new Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young certified scorer, and his crew, Dale Robison, John Dino, Mike Weber and Jack McEwen for scoring all the antlers and one bear scull. Matt spent almost a week in Missoula Montana last summer at his own expense to become a certified scorer for Boone and Crockett. We thank Matt for becoming certified and volunteering to do the measuring at our show. The highest scoring set of antlers this year was 160 0/8 on a whitetail taken by Kevin Bush with a bow in Greene Co. Tom Strang's wheel chair PA elk made the state record book at 300 1/8. Look in the January issue of the PA Game News page 48 for the story.

The Pheasants Forever crew had 216 kids shoot at their inflatable BB gun range. We thank the gals from Range Resources and Dale Moore from the Dormont Mt.Lebanon club for helping with the kids. About 50 packets of pollinator seeds were handed out to interested individuals. If they all get planted there may be close to an additional half acre of flowers for the pollinators this year in Washington Co. I didn't get a chance to talk to the face painting lady before she left so I don't know how many faces she painted.

Dan Plovic broke his hip on Dec. 16th . He is still in therapy and the prognosis for his being able to walk again is good. He is in rehab and is coming along well; give him a call at 724-222- 2806.

The next meeting will be Thursday, March 1st at 7:30PM at the Canonsburg Sportsmen's Club.