RULES AND REGULATIONS
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 147 ]
Special Permits; Pheasant Permit
[47 Pa.B. 2720]
[Saturday, May 13, 2017]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its March 28, 2017, meeting, added Chapter 147, Subchapter Q (relating to pheasant permit) to define and implement the Pheasant Hunting Permit Program (Program) in this Commonwealth and provide for the issuance of hunting permits authorizing eligible individuals to hunt pheasants during applicable pheasant hunting seasons.
This final-form rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this final-form rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 47 Pa.B. 1492 (March 11, 2017).
1. Purpose and Authority
Pheasant hunting in this Commonwealth has relied entirely upon stocking of farm-raised pheasants during the past 20—30 years subsequent to the disappearance of the wild pheasant population in this Commonwealth. Four pheasant farms operated by the Commission have historically produced about 200,000 pheasants per year. This pheasant program is popular and has many values related to hunter recruitment/retention/reactivation as well as providing an upland game bird hunting opportunity at a time when wild upland game bird populations are gone or in serious decline. However, the pheasant program has been costing the Commission about $4.7 million per year with no fee mechanism established to sustain it. Recent budget pressures caused by increases in personnel benefit costs and declines in revenue have forced the Commission to initiate cost cutting measures including closure of two of the four pheasant farms. These closures are estimated to save $1.7 million per year while changes in operations are being implemented to further reduce costs while minimizing adverse impacts on the bird quality and quantity. The Commission adds Chapter 147, Subchapter Q to define and implement the Program in this Commonwealth and provide for the issuance of hunting permits authorizing eligible individuals to hunt pheasants during applicable pheasant hunting seasons. Adoption of the pheasant hunting permit at cost of $25 for adults is projected to produce about $1.5 million of new revenue, make the pheasant program more self-sufficient and help ensure the future of pheasant hunting in this Commonwealth.
Section 2901(b) of the code (relating to authority to issue permits) provides ''the commission may, as deemed necessary to properly manage the game or wildlife resources, promulgate regulations for the issuance of any permit and promulgate regulations to control the activities which may be performed under authority of any permit issued.'' Chapter 147, Subchapter Q is adopted under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This final-form rulemaking adds Chapter 147, Subchapter Q to define and implement the Program in this Commonwealth and provide for the issuance of hunting permits authorizing eligible individuals to hunt pheasants during applicable pheasant hunting seasons.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to hunt or take pheasants in this Commonwealth will be affected by this final-form rulemaking.
4. Comment and Response Summary
The Commission received a total of 22 official comments in support and 37 official comments in opposition to this final-form rulemaking.
5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This final-form rulemaking will result in the creation of a new class of permit that will be required for adult hunters. The Commission anticipates that this permit will be made available through the Pennsylvania Automated License System, therefore additional paperwork requirements for the general public will be nominal. The Commission determined that there will be limited personnel and administrative costs associated with the implementation of this new permit program. The Commission anticipates that these costs will be accommodated through existing staffing and existing budgets.
6. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will be effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
7. Contact Person
For further information regarding this final-form rulemaking, contact Thomas P. Grohol, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
The Commission finds that:
(1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.
(2) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.
The Commission, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 147, are amended by adding §§ 147.315—147.318 to read as set forth in Annex A
(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-402 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 147. SPECIAL PERMITS
Subchapter Q. PHEASANT PERMIT
147.315. Purpose. 147.316. Application. 147.317. Permit. 147.318. Violations.
§ 147.315. Purpose.
The purpose of this subchapter is to define and implement the Pheasant Hunting Permit Program in this Commonwealth and provide for the issuance of hunting permits authorizing eligible individuals to hunt pheasants during applicable pheasant hunting seasons established in § 139.4 (relating to seasons and bag limits for the license year).
§ 147.316. Application.
(a) Form and content. Applications for pheasant hunting permits issued under this subchapter shall be made through the Commission or any of its authorized license-issuing agents on the appropriate form designated by the Commission for this purpose. Each application must include the applicant's name, address, date of birth and Commission-issued Customer Identification Number, and any other information required by the Commission.
(b) Eligibility. Adult pheasant hunting permit applications are available for submission by applicants in possession of a valid resident or nonresident adult or senior hunting license, or a valid mentored adult hunting permit. The fee for a pheasant hunting permit is $25, plus any applicable transactional and issuing agent fees.
§ 147.317. Permit.
(a) A pheasant hunting permit is required for an adult to hunt or take pheasants by any means or manner or device, including the use of dogs, in this Commonwealth.
(b) A pheasant hunting permit shall be signed and carried on person when hunting or taking pheasants in this Commonwealth.
(c) This section and subchapter may not be construed to require a permit for individuals engaged in lawful pheasant hunting activities under a valid commercial or noncommercial regulated hunting grounds issued under section 2928 of the act (relating to regulated hunting grounds permits).
§ 147.318. Violations.
Violations of this subchapter will be prosecuted under section 2908 of the act (relating to violations). Furthermore, the Director may deny, revoke or suspend a permit for a violation of this subchapter upon written notice to the permittee.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-810. Filed for public inspection May 12, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]
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