Friends of Pennsylvania Wildlife represents the interests of millions of wildlife-loving citizens of the Commonwealth -- including sportsmen, campers and camp owners, hikers and mountain bikers, bird-watchers, wildlife photographers, and any who are concerned about the future of our wildlife resources. Today, the populations of many species of forest-dwelling wildlife are rapidly declining and desperately need our help. White-tailed deer, our State Mammal, have collapsed to as few as only 1-5 deer per square mile in some regions -- possibly representing a 100-year low for the statewide population. Numbers of ruffed grouse, our State Bird, are now at a 50-year low. Other game and nongame animals from snowshoe hares and wild turkeys to many songbirds, bats, and even pollinators such as bumble bees and Monarch butterflies are spiraling downward. Please join with 600,000 of your fellow state citizens who are now Friends of Pennsylvania Wildlife toward resolving this current conservation crisis.
Support Passage of this Critical Bill
House Bill 1483 is designed to correct the greatest conservation mistake in the over-one-hundred-year history of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Recognizing this crisis, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has designed HB 1483 to resolve this environmental, social, and economic dilemma. Learn about the current forest and wildlife crisis on this website, and become a Friend of Pennsylvania Wildlife. Please urge your House and Senate representatives to support passage of HB 1483.
A Wildlife and Conservation Crisis
Pennsylvania has always been recognized for the vastness of its hardwood forests and abundance of wildlife. Today, however, many of Pennsylvania’s forest-dwelling wildlife species are facing crisis conditions because of deteriorating forests.
Both game and nongame birds and mammals are rapidly declining in numbers because of aging forests that have grown well beyond their most productive years. Old-age forests averaging 80-120 years old are choking out sunlight from reaching the forest floor, and, therefore, preventing the growth of understory vegetation as vital food and cover for wildlife. Populations of ruffed grouse, our State Bird, have now reached a 50-year low, and over 150 other species from white-tailed deer and snowshoe hares to bats, songbirds, and even pollinators such as bees and Monarch butterflies are in rapid decline because of the lack of habitat.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has failed to recognize this circumstance, and, instead, blamed the lack of understory vegetation on over-browsing by deer. As a result, over a 5-year period from 2000-04 the Commission initiated an assault on the statewide deer herd, our State Mammal, targeting pregnant does and fawns and slaughtering over 2,500,000 deer. From 2005 to the present, they have maintained the assault, leaving only 1-2 deer per square mile in some regions of the state.
Because of the lack of deer and other wildlife, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee determined that family businesses, rural communities, and the Commonwealth’s economy have lost over $7 billion. As of 2001, these egregious social and economic losses were impacting jobs and our economy at the rate of $501.6 million per year, with over $40 million in lost tax revenues per year due to this crisis. However, as of 2017 these impacts had increased to $1.16 billion per year in lost economic activity for the Commonwealth, especially to rural communities, with an additional $92.5 million in annual lost tax revenues.
HB 1483 will create critical early-growth wildlife habitat across 6,000 square miles of Pennsylvania’s forests; maximize the populations of deer, grouse, and scores of wildlife species; improve the health of the forest ecosystem; revitalize rural communities with $500 million to over $1 billion of annual economic growth; generate nearly $100 million per year in new state tax revenue; and provide multiple-use outdoor recreation opportunities for the enjoyment of all Pennsylvania citizens. HB 1483 will serve the interests of a million sportsmen as well as the outdoor-recreation needs of over 12 million campers, cabin owners, hikers, mountain bikers, wildlife photographers, birdwatchers, and general outdoor enthusiasts.