HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe hailed a Commonwealth Court ruling that dismissed, with prejudice, the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania’s challenge to the agency’s deer management program. The decision to throw out the case was made “with prejudice,” meaning that the lawsuit may not be re-filed.
“Today’s court ruling is a strong statement that the game commission’s deer management program is being conducted in a sound, methodical and scientific manner,” Roe said. “We believe that most hunters and the general public recognize that the need to reduce and stabilize our state’s deer herd is a short-term pain that we must endure in order to achieve long-term gains.
“Our hope is that this ruling will cease the unnecessary expenditure of sportsmen’s dollars and tax dollars fighting frivolous and ill-conceived lawsuits.”
Roe noted that, since 2000, the Game Commission has worked to implement a deer management program that takes into account the concerns of all Pennsylvanians, and the agency has been consistent and open in its approach.
“The deer management plan, which is available on our website, was developed with public input to improve the health of the state’s deer herd; to encourage healthy habitat, which deer and all other wildlife depend on; and to reduce deer-human conflicts,” Roe said. “We believe this deer management program will improve the health of our deer herd and the habitat that supports it and other wildlife.
“Yes, hunting has become more challenging in many areas. However, the benefits from our program changes are unmistakable, as hunters have reported seeing and harvesting larger deer; land managers and foresters are seeing some regeneration recovery in our forests; and farmers are telling us that they have seen less damage to their crops.
“We have reduced deer herds in many of our more rural Wildlife Management Units, and our focus has been to stabilize deer herds in those areas over the past two hunting seasons. However, we continue to focus our efforts on reducing deer impacts in our most urbanized WMUs – 2B, 5C and 5D – in the southwestern and southeastern portions of the state.”