[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 147 ]
Deer Control; Special Permits
[48 Pa.B. 5607]
[Saturday, September 8, 2018]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its July 31, 2018, meeting, proposed to amend § 147.322 (relating to application for deer control permit) to provide greater clarity of what circumstances will satisfy the public hunting requirement.
This proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
This proposed rulemaking was made public at the July 31, 2018, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until September 21, 2018, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
1. Purpose and Authority
Section 147.322 has historically required that all ''[p]ublic land within the proposed boundaries be open to lawful public hunting unless otherwise prohibited under this title or as otherwise authorized or waived by the Director.'' In large part, this requirement is derived directly from section 103 of the act which provides, in relevant part, that ''[t]he commission shall utilize hunting and trapping as methods of effecting necessary management of game, furbearer and wildlife populations.'' While section 103 does not limit management of wild resources to public hunting only, the Commission has concluded that it is clearly intended as the primary method of management.
Over the years, the Commission has observed that deer control permit applicants utilize varying degrees of use of public hunting as a prerequisite to meeting the public hunting requirement of § 147.322. Many applicants have established organized controlled hunts, while others have organized or invited established hunting clubs onto the public or private, or both, properties covered by the permit to help reduce deer populations. Still others invite only local government (permittee) employees to engage in hunting on the public or private, or both, properties covered by the permit. While the Commission has approved permit applications in the past involving this latter method of satisfying the public hunting component, it has more recently recognized the importance of pushing deer control back, primarily, into the hands of the public through more clearly defined public hunting. This action will still allow landowners (both public and private) to allow hunting, in whole or in limited part, to meet their deer control and land use goals.
To this end, the Commission is proposing to amend § 147.322 to provide greater clarity of what circumstances will satisfy the public hunting requirement. The Commission specifically intends with this action to reject hunting opportunity that is afforded to an individual or class of individuals solely by virtue of their public employment as satisfying the public hunting requirement. This action will improve the use and prominence of public hunting as the primary method of wild resource management without unduly restricting the purpose and ultimate goals of the deer control permit program. This action will formalize into the deer control permit regulations the current policy being used to evaluate and approve deer control permit applications.
Section 2901(b) of the code (relating to authority to issue permits) provides that ''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.'' The amendments to § 147.322 are proposed under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This proposed rulemaking will amend § 147.322 to provide greater clarity of what circumstances will satisfy the public hunting requirement.
3. Persons Affected
Political subdivision or government agency applicants wishing to participate in the Commission's deer control permit program will be affected by this proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This proposed rulemaking should not result in any additional cost or paperwork.
5. Effective Date
This proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
6. Contact Person
For further information regarding this proposed rulemaking, contact Randy L. Shoup, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: 48-435. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 147. SPECIAL PERMITS
Subchapter R. DEER CONTROL
§ 147.322. Application for deer control permit.
(a) An application for a deer control permit shall be completed and submitted by an authorized officer or employee of the political subdivision, homeowners association or nonprofit land-holding organization in the form and manner required by the Director.
(b) An application for a deer control permit must contain the following information:
(1) Description. A comprehensive description of the background and scope of the white-tailed deer population or damage problem, or both. The description must includea report of all alternative solutions or other steps taken by the applicant to mitigate the white-tailed deer population or damage problem, or both, prior to application for this permit and must specifically define how licensed public hunting for white-tailed deer has been utilized in the problem area and what results hunting activities have had on the population or damage problem, or both.
(2) Deer management plan. A comprehensive deer management plan which sets forth the applicant's white-tailed deer management goals, recommended implementation plan and a reference to the specific number of animals sought to be removed. The applicant shall specifically define how licensed public hunting for white-tailed deer will be utilized in the problem area during the term of the requested deer control permit.
(i) A map or set of maps showing the proposed project area and its boundaries and clearly illustrating all of the following distinct features and areas within the proposed project area:
(A) Land uses.
(B) Cover types.
(C) Areas open to public hunting for white-tailed deer.
(D) Areas damaged by white-tailed deer.
(E) Areas of white-tailed deer congregation.
(F) Applicable safety zones.
(G) Proposed white-tailed deer control areas.
(ii) The map must indicate the individual acreage values for each of the listed features and acres.
(c) Public land within the proposed boundaries shall be open to lawful public hunting unless otherwise prohibited under this title or as otherwise authorized or waived by the Director. Private land within the proposed boundaries may be closed to public hunting at the landowner's discretion. However, if closed, deer control activities may not occur thereon.
(d) For the purposes of this section, the term ''public hunting'' shall be defined as hunting opportunity that is available, in whole or in part, to members of the general public, but shall not include hunting opportunity that is afforded to an individual or class of individuals solely by virtue of their public employment.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 18-1401. Filed for public inspection September 7, 2018, 9:00 a.m.]
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