Game Commission Welcomes New Deputy Executive Director

Conservation career path has led Bryan J. Burhans back to Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission has a new deputy executive director of administration.

Bryan J. Burhans, a native Pennsylvanian with 25 years of experience working in conservation, has stepped into his new role.

As deputy executive director of administration, Burhans assists in planning, directing, executing and coordinating all activities of Pennsylvania’s wildlife-management program, and directly supervises Game Commission bureau directors and other staff.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said he’s pleased to have Burhans working next to him.

“Bryan has spent a career in conservation, and he brings to the Game Commission not only a wealth of knowledge and experience, but genuine enthusiasm to work for the benefit of Pennsylvania’s wildlife, and its hunters and trappers,” Hough said. “I couldn’t be happier to have him aboard. He’s a great fit and I’m certain he’ll do an outstanding job.”

Burhans called himself “a Pennsylvania boy, born and raised” who grew up hunting and trapping in the fields and woodlots of Montgomery County.

A Penn State University graduate, Burhans went on to attain a Master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries biology and has worked for conservation organizations in several states. He spent more than a decade as part of the national executive staff of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Prior to that, he worked as a biologist for the Virginia Department of Inland Fisheries and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Most recently, he worked in North Carolina as president and chief executive officer of The American Chestnut Foundation.

Taking time from a busy first week at the Game Commission, Burhans said he’s grateful his career path has led him, wife Lisa and son Nolan back to Pennsylvania.

Burhans grew up making trips to hunting camp in Bald Eagle State Forest and said nowhere in his travels has he encountered anything like Pennsylvania’s remarkable hunting and trapping culture.

“You can’t have conservation without hunters, and I can’t tell you how privileged I feel to be back in Pennsylvania, working for what I consider to be the finest conservation organization in the country,” Burhans said.

“Pennsylvania’s hunting culture is an absolute treasure, and I’m excited to be working with Pennsylvania’s hunters and trappers to support the conservation effort of all of Pennsylvania’s wild birds and mammals.”

Burhans is one of two deputy executive directors working for the Game Commission. Richard R. Palmer is the deputy executive director for field operations, a position he has held since early June.

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