The Legislative Budget & Finance Committee has officially awarded the Pennsylvania Deer Audit contract to the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI). Will this result in a comprehensive audit to determine an accurate evaluation of PGC deer management, or is the designed intent of the Levdansky Request for Proposal (RFP) to validate the current deer management plan? We believe all indicators point to the latter.
Is WMI an unbiased outside agency? WMI was a participant in the 1999 Audubon Deer Conference, which was the kick-off to implementing the current deer management plan.
Why is the drastic reduction of the deer herd the centerpiece of this management plan? The main stipulation in granting conditional “Green Certification” to Pennsylvania state forestland was that “overabundant” deer must be killed off, or green certification will not be renewed. Without the GREEN stamp of approval, lumber from the forest cannot be sold in Europe. So in essence, Pennsylvania deer management is governed by European environmentalism.
This is a useful tool for those with other agendas.
For homegrown environmentalists, it’s a step toward the restoration of our forests to the “pristine” wilderness that existed before the arrival of Western Civilization and our hunting culture.
A drastically reduced deer herd leads to reduced hunting license sales, which leads to reduced Game Commission funds. Reduced funds lead to renewed calls for merger. It’s of coincidence that the same politician who pushed this particular RFP, has been working behind the scene for years to merge the Game & Fish Commissions with DCNR, to “build a bridge to the environmentalists.”
Of prime consideration, is 1.6 million acres of coveted gameland. A depleted deer herd and reduced license sales lead to reduced gameland use. There is a cadre of special interest groups who have been semi-patiently waiting in the wings, eager to multi-use the gamelands, relegating hunters to second class citizens on a list of stakeholders.
Why was the watered-down Levdansky RFP pushed in preference of all others? Special commendation goes to the contrarian outdoor writer John Street, who, in his article “You ain’t gonna gitcherdeer”, has shed light on the machinations behind this effort.
Since before its implementation, the ACSL has fruitlessly been asking for the science behind the deer management plan, and it appears as though we may still be asking that same exact question after the audit is complete. Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of our hunting tradition, by the guiding hand of a self-anointed hunting czar? Who or what backroom oligarchy really wrote the RFP? Surveys of deer in West Virginia show approximately 40 per square mile yet here in PA the numbers have dropped dramatically. Aerial surveys by DCNR first showed 5-10 per square mile and the second survey showed 0-5 per square mile. Where do YOU think this is headed?