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
March 2019 Newsletter
I was not able to attend this year's sport show becaise a prior commitment took me out of the country for that week. I hear the show went well and Lou Brandenberg did an outstanding job as usual organizing the show. We had 14 entries in the sporting dog show; 2 had to leave for a bathroom break because the George Block Scholarship committee took so long. Other than that, I hear everything went pretty well. The Pheasants Forever guys handed out 244 pollinator seed packets and used up 266 targets in their BB gun range. Matt Weinzen and his horn measuring team scored 19 sets of antlers. The best white tail this year was taken by Chris Kostyak with a rifle in Westmorland Co. and scored 178; last years high score was 160 0/8 on a whitetail taken by Kevin Bush with a bow in Greene Co. We thank Matt and his crew, Mike Weber, Dale Robison, John Dino, Jack McEwen, and George Block for their volunteering to measure horns. I believe this might be the 29 th year for George.
This year's George Block Conservation Scholarship was awarded to Christina Adams, an amazing young lady from Carmichaels high school in Greene County, who is really in to wildlife conservation. Christina is a junior on the Carmichaels Envirothon team which took 1 st place in the PA competition and 18 th in the national last year. Her hopes are to become a veterinarian. Being on the selection committee is really a pleasure recognizing these young conservationists.
You missed a good one if you were not at the last Co. League meeting. Dennis Fredericks was our guest speaker. Dennis announced that Adam Traynor, our new Game Warden, was one of the top graduates of the last class. In talking with past legislators Dennis often gets comments about how sportsmen's organizations are extremely splintered. It sure would make things easier for legislators if the sportsmen spoke with one voice.
Dennis went over several proposals that were submitted at the last commissioners meeting. These are only proposals which will be voted on at the next meeting in April. Blaze orange regulations were simplified, the use of semi-autos will not be voted on in April. Changes in the elk seasons are proposed like having an archery season during the rut, and a late cow archery and rifle season. A Saturday starter for deer may be voted on. We had a long discussion on cross bows.
We spent a lot of time talking about CWD. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has not received the necessary support from landowners in Bedford and Blair counties to move forward with plans to reduce the deer population in a 100-square-mile area as part of a pilot project on chronic wasting disease (CWD). Reducing deer numbers was part of a strategy to reduce the effect and spread of CWD. This is the state of the art strategy being used by many other states to deal with CWD.
You may have heard about a CWD researcher, Dr. Frank Bastian, of the Louisiana State University, who claims CWD is caused by an odd bacteria-spiroplasma not prions. He proposed to develop in 3 years a vaccine and a test kit that hunters could carry with them to test for the disease. All he needed was money. The Unified Sportsmen of PA has pledged to financially support his research by entering into an agreement with LSU to provide $100,000 each year for each of the next three years- -a total of $300,000. In return, USP will get to be the first to distribute and test the test kits for field use.
The latest news is that Dr. Bastian no longer works for LSU and the university is distancing themselves from him stating that "LSU AgCenter cannot state (Dr. Bastian's) latest claims are supported by data, consistent with the scientific understanding of the LSU AgCenter". I hope everyone read the article in the latest PFSC News about the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association's attempts to fight CWD. This is in striking contrast to what the USP and some landowners in PA think about controlling CWD. Let me know if you deleted it and I'll send you another one.
The 2018 bear harvest came in at 3,153 bears, 11th-best all-time, but also the lowest bear harvest in the past 11 years. There is a new Live PA Bear Den Cam, see it by clicking here.
On the state legislative front there has, as always, been a number of ant-gun bills submitted in Harrisburg at the beginning of the latest legislative session. They are all listed in the PFSC News, so I won't go over them again. Let me know if you deleted your copy and I'll send you another. It looks like there is enough support in Harrisburg to pass some kind of license increase for the Fish Commission, they have agreed to spend down their reserve fund, but I think they need an increase anyway.
I mentioned that the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund was up for reauthorization last fall and it didn't pass. It was resubmitted this year and passed the House by a large majority, only one of PA's representatives voted against it. The Senate vote was 92-8 and President Trump is expected to sign it. Oddly enough Senator Toomey was one of the 8. I sent him an email asking why; I'll let you know what he says. This is the fund that allocates 1% of the federal oil and gas lease proceeds to conservation. The package contains many provisions important to hunters, anglers, trappers and recreational shooters. One of the key provisions is the "Open Until Closed" policy, "Open Until Closed" requires lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to be open for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting unless specifically closed for cause. This action helps to prevent lawsuits by national anti-hunting groups attempting to use the courts to stop hunting opportunities on public land. Other important issues that the package addresses include:
The PFSC has hired a new Executive Director, Marty Nothstein of Orefield in Lehigh County who has started his employment this past Monday, March 11 th . Marty is a hunter, a fisherman and believes wholeheartedly in citizen's rights to own and use firearms. He will be representing us in Harrisburg. PFSC is the only sportsman's organization with a representative to speak for us in Harrisburg. The Federation's membership has fallen to the point where we cannot afford to support a full time representative in Harrisburg much longer. Those of us who hunt, fish, shoot, and trap are in the minority. We represent only 10 or 12 percent of the population. We need someone in Harrisburg to support our interests. As Dennis Fredericks said, the sportsmen's ranks are splintered. United Bowhunters, Pheasants Forever, the Wild Turkey Federation, and PA Trappers are all members of the PFSC. If you are a grouse hunter, get RGS to join; if you are an avid trout fisherman, get TU to join; if you belong to a shooting club, or if you belong to a sportsmen's club; please try to get your club to become a member of the PFSC. We need a unified voice.
Veterans are people who, at one point in their lives, wrote a blank check payable to the United States Of America, for an amount up to and including their lives - Author unknown