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

October 2018 Newsletter

At the October meeting Dave Raulfs reported that both Dutch Fork and Canonsburg Lakes were stocked during the first week of October. Not much fishing pressure this time of the year. He hasn’t had many stream pollution incidents to investigate either.

Dan Sitler reported that tracking dogs are now allowed. The dog handler must be unarmed and licensed. Archery season has started, he recommends wearing a harness if hunting from a tree stand.

Some highlights of the most recent Commissioners meeting:

- Hungarian partridges
 are now classified as wild birds, this means that they will be treated in a similar manner as chukars.

- Three bat species were classified as state endangered species all of which have been decimated by white-nose syndrome since it appeared in Pennsylvania in 2008. They are the northern long-eared bat, tri-colored bat and little brown bat.

- The Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a measure that will bridge the mentored youth and mentored adult hunting programs. Hunters and furtakers in Pennsylvania can purchase their first licenses at age 12, after successful completion of a Hunter-Trapper Education course. The mentored youth program enables those younger than 12 to participate in hunting, while the mentored adult program allows those 18 or older to participate, simply by obtaining a permit and following program requirements. Under the current framework, the mentored programs leave out those ages 12 to 17. The only way hunters ages 12 to 17 can experience hunting is to become certified and buy a license. The measure preliminarily approved by commissioners allows unlicensed individuals under the age of 17 to participate in the mentored youth program, and allows those 17 or older to participate in the mentored adult program. The measure is scheduled for a final vote in January.

Dan also talked about the importation of high risk parts from other states (CWD). The fine is $400. He is still working alone and will have 2 cadets to train. He is now working on 12 investigations.

Notes from the PFSC combined board and county delegate meeting in Harrisburg on September 15th:

The roll call by the secretary indicated: 17 Board of Directors and 26 Delegates (2 Statewide Orgs, 1 Member at Large Delegate and 23 County Delegates. 2 Club Delegates (Marysville Sportsmen, Perry Co. and Dormont Mt. Lebanon, Washington Co. Total proxies: 2 state orgs, 1 member at large and 82 club proxies presented, for a total of 85 eligible proxy votes.

The minutes of the previous meetings were approved. The treasurer’s report pointed out that PFSC was once again running an unsustainable deficit. Net Income: $-20,058.97

The treasurer reviewed the proposed 2018/2019 budget, highlighting the need to increase membership and fundraising endeavors. The 2018 fiscal year ended with a deficit of $20,058.97. Plans are moving forward with moving some payroll operational expenses under the Foundation. Grants will be applied for to help cover costs of hiring a full-time executive director. The current membership report showed 183 Clubs, 5 statewide orgs, 1016 individual members, 4 corporate members – Representing 69,000 sportsmen and conservationists.

The Fish and Boat Commission was represented by Julie Carraghan, PFBC Legislative Liaison. She provided an update on the agencies current Legislative Priorities:

Fee Increase; Fee designation authority – SB 30, HB 554

Traditional fee increases ($10 by 2023) – SB 460, HB 609

Working with House/Senate leadership on strategy for new session

Low Head Dam Safety - HB 1673 - Low Head Dams are a considerable public safety risk

- Working group with PFBC to identify legislative solutions, Pushing for public hearing this fall; possible legislation introduced again in the new session

Lake Erie Permit Expansion (HB1686) Currently, proceeds from the PFBC’s Lake Erie permit may only be used for habitat and access within Lake Erie and its tributaries, Amends the Fish and Boat Code to offer greater flexibility on how those funds are used for public fishing projects in the Erie region

Examples include fish cleaning stations, marina improvements, fishing pathway.

PGC Executive Director Bryan Burhans provided updates on several agency related issues:

CWD Update – the agency will be holding open house meetings around the state to discuss the severity of the topic.

Ruffed Grouse Management

Updated Guide Permit Regulations (Bear & Elk)

Fluorescent Orange Revisions Possible

Longhorn tick – can kill wildlife and domestic animals

Concluded 3-year fawn study; black bears biggest predator, coyote 2nd. He said that does have learned to drop their fawns down in the valleys away from where the bears live. Predators are not having negative effect on population.

Cindy Dunn, DCNR Secretary, provided updates on several agency related issues:

DCNR provides more hunting grounds than any other entity – 81% of state park lands are open to hunting; Land Conservation for habitat – grants available to local conservancies; Lyme Disease is a major threat to anyone spending time in the outdoors; Working to engage our next generation with several different youth oriented programs like the revamped Conservation Corp.

Robb Miller, Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Hunting and Fishing provided an update on recent council activity: The Council continues to interview/make recommendations to fill Commissioner board seats on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Looking at how to retain 18-25-year-old hunters – perhaps extend Jr Licenses to age 21?

PA Youth Corp – Need to get more youth engaged in outdoor activities. Promoting 2 age groups: 14-18 yrs. and 19-25 yrs. continuing to push for license fee increases in early February/March 2019 legislative session.

He said there will be a tremendous change in the legislature next session. 29 current members not returning due to retirements and incumbents who did not win primary re-election bids. There will be

changes in committee chairs and committee members. Sunday hunting – seeing positive movement towards passing some legislation.

John Kline, PFSC Director of Government Affairs, reported on several important pieces of legislation:

HB 1483 - This is a regurgitated version of last session’s HB2083 and is bad legislation. The bill was introduced last October, but was just refered to a committee (House State Government instead of Game & Fisheries) September 7th. No word on whether Chairman Metcalf will try to move the bill from committee before the end of the legislative session.

PFSC voiced strong opposition to House Bills 1400 and 1872. 1400 would require PICS background checks on all gun transactions including current legal transactions between state residents for long guns. 1872 would ban devices known as ‘Bump Stocks’. Both bills were introduced as knee jerk reactions to recent high-profile shootings. 1400 did not pass out of the Judiciary Committee but 1872 did. Neither bill is likely to pass the chamber but the votes were very close, a sign that we must remain vigilant in the face of second amendment attacks.

HB 2648 - Night Vision & Infrared Devices - A Co-sponsor memo continues to circulate the House for support. Representative Parke Wentling’s (R-Crawford/Erie) bill would remove the prohibition of night vision and infrared devices so they could be regulated by the Game Commission for use in hunting predators. PFSC recently contacted all House members urging them to sign on as co-sponsors. As of August 30th, there were 31 co-sponsors on this letter. A bill should be officially introduced very soon.

HB 2503 - would prohibit transport of dogs in the outside portion of a vehicle like the back of a pick-up truck. This legislation has the characteristics of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that is not a good thing. Currently cruelty statutes already cover the improper treatment of dogs therefore this bill is unnecessary. It is not likely that this bill will advance before the end of the legislative session, but it will certainly reappear next year.

HB 2611 - has been introduced. As of the date of this report the language for the bill has not been released but we expect it will be similar to an effort from last session. 2611 would require the PA State Police to submit mental health records to the federal instant check system. SB 1202 from Senator Laughlin has been referred to the Senate Game & Fisheries Committee. As detailed in the proxy information this bill would remove the statutory Sunday hunting prohibition and give the authority to the Game Commission for regulation. PFSC has historically supported this position. There is a difference with 1202 however. This bill would make trespassing while hunting a primary offense. No movement will happen this legislative session, but promises have been made to have the bills reintroduced in 2019, and hopefully we’ll see movement by early March. Getting passage of fee increases for both the PGC and the PFBC will be PFSC’s top priority for 2019.

The votes on the resolutions were as follows:

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? 52 Yea, 32 Nay, 1 Abstain

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? 74 Yea, 11 Nay

3. Should PFSC support a voluntary habitat stamp for anglers with the funds going towards habitat improvements? 60 Yea, 24 Nay, 1 Abstain

4. Should PFSC support a voluntary wild trout stamp with funds going towards wild trout fisheries? Yea, 26 Nay, 2 Abstain

5. Should PFSC support allowing private landowners to stock Hungarian (gray) partridges for dog training and limited hunting purposes on private lands? 67 Yea, 15 Nay, 3 Abstain

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? 30 Yea, 55 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? 78 Yea, 6 Nay, 1 Abstain

Committee Reports:

Executive Director Search Committee Update

Josh First provided an update on the work the committee has accomplished. A job description has been finalized. Additional grant funds are being sought to cover the salary of an ED for 2 years. If/when funds are dedicated, an announcement and application process will be posted.

Strategic Planning/Goals/Bylaws Committee Update

Melody Schell provided an update on the work the committee has accomplished. She said Carl Roe is still facilitating the strategic planning process discussion. The board of directors, at the June meeting, voted to change the name of the organization to: Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists. Melody is currently conferring with an attorney to determine the legal process required to officially change the name of the organization

The last bit of business was a motion was made and passed to make a new membership category for any member of an affiliated state organization to become an e-member of the PFSC for $10/year.

The next Conventions/General Session will be March 30-31, 2019 at PFBC Headquarters in Harrisburg


A recent event in New Jersey reminds us how important it is to have an independent agency managing wildlife. The New Jersey governor ended the bear hunt on public property this year in New Jersey. He was able to do this because the agency in charge of managing the state’s wildlife is the New Jersey DEP, the head of which is a political appointee.

The next County League meeting will be November 1st

Have a safe and enjoyable archery & small game season.