ENDORSEMENTS FOR PASSAGE OF HB 1483
Prepared for Members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives
The following endorsements represent many hundreds-of-thousands of Pennsylvania citizens who are documented as supporting passage of House Bill 1483. This Exhibit A is a small portion of the sportsmen and outdoor-loving citizens, businesses, and organizations of the Commonwealth who endorse the bill. All outdoor-loving people who enjoy recreating in Pennylvania's great outdoors and who want abundant wildlife and healthy forests -- including sportsmen, camp and family-cabin owners, hikers, trail bikers, campers, nature photographers, and businesses within the outdoor industry -- are encouraged to be "friends of Pennsylvania wildlife" by contacting your state representatives and senators and requesting that they support passage of HB 1483. Any organizations that wish to officially endorse this most critical conservation bill are urged to provide us with your letters of support as have the many orgaizations that are listed in this table.
I. On-Line, Single-Signature iPetition……………………………………………......... 1,501 Signatures
An iPetition was posted on a newly created website (https://www.friendsofpennsylvaniawildlife.org). People of all walks of life across the entire Commonwealth signed the ipetition during about a two-month period -- from sportsmen and camp owners to all those who wish for a healthy ecosystem with abundant wildlife. This represents only a brief and limited sampling of people who dislike PGC’s deer and wildlife management programs and who endorse HB 1483. All House and Senate members are urged to read the hundreds of eye-opening comments that were posted on the petition by clicking on the PETITION button at the bottom of the next menu item.
II. Hard-Copy, Single-Signature Petition………………………………..……………… 842 Signatures
During about a 30-day period, blank petition sheets were placed in a few select businesses primarily in Union and Snyder Counties to determine the desire for passage of HB 1483 by citizens who did not have access to electronic devices. This represents a microcosm of the many tens-of-thousands of signatures that would likely have resulted if these petition sheets had been distributed throughout the 67 counties of Pennsylvania.
III. Large Groups Signing the iPetition…………………………………… Representing 9,650 Signers
• Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Club: Representing 4,700 members.
• Union County Sportsmen’s Club: Representing 4,000 members.
• Buffalo Valley Sportsmen’s Association: Representing 950 members.
Subtotal Petition Signatures (I, II, and III above)…………………………………………………………. 11,993 Signatures
IV. Phone Survey of Businesses & Organizations………………………….. 109 out of 110 Businesses
At the request of legislators, a 72-hour telephone survey was conducted in 2016 to determine the validity of PGC's claim "that a majority of hunters are in approval of the agency's deer-management program". The survey included 110 sportsmen clubs, businesses, and chambers of commerce from the central and northern-tier counties. Of the 110 contacts, 109 were in favor of legislative reform, and only one call resulted in favor of PGC. This represents only a small microcosm of the many thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of sportsmen who want dramatic deer management reform. (See the complete survey that is listed following this endorsement table.)
V. Large Statewide-Organization Letters of Endorsement………... Representing 537,000 Members
• Allegheny County Sportsmen's League: The voice of 200,000 sportsmen.
• Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania: Representing 70,000-100,000 members.
• Eastern Pennsylvania Firearms Coalition: Representing 150,000-175,000 members.
• Firearm Owners Against Crime: With over 2,000 political-activist coordinators in PA and over 107,000 contacts.
• Pennsylvania State Camp Association: Representing 5,000 state-leased camps and over 60,000 members.
VI. Regional & Statewide Organization Support……………………… Representing 9,307 Members
• Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Association: Representing 6,000 members.
• May Hollow Sportsmen’s Club: Representing 900 members.
• Bucktail Rod & Gun: Representing 800 members.
• Rapid Run Rod & Gun Club: Representing 19 members.
• Half-Way Rod & Gun Club: Representing 18 members.
• West Decatur Sportsmans Club: Representing 300 members.
• Pennsylvania Taxidermist Association: Representing 1,270 Pennsylvania taxidermists.
VII. Support of Chambers of Commerce……………………… Representing 2,000-3,000 Businesses
• Cameron County Chamber of Commerce: Representing 110 businesses.
• Clearfield Chamber of Commerce: Representing over 320 businesses and organizations.
• Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce: Representing 937 businesses and organizations.
• DuBois Chamber of Commerce: Serving 14 municipalities and townships.
• Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce: Representing about 200 members.
Prepared by John Eveland • October 20, 2017
A MICROCOSM OF
BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT
REFORMING THE GAME COMMISSION'S
Findings are Based on a 72-Hour Survey of Pennsylvania Sportsmen's
Organizations and Businesses that are Affiliated with the Outdoor Industry
A Bipartisan Request by the Pennsylvania Legislature
Conducted by John Eveland
With Assistance from
Phil Wagner, Nelson Haas, Jack Krafft, Randy Santucci,
Pete Kingsley, Wayne Haas, and Blaine Toy.
Introduction and Summary
In January 2016, a House Game and Fisheries Committee hearing was held regarding pending deer management legislation. At that time, three attending Game Commission representatives stated:
• that the Commission's deer-management program was second to none in the country;
• that a majority of hunters are in approval of the program; and
• that the Commission would be making no significant changes to the program.
Therefore, in an effort to determine the validity of the Commission's claim "that a majority of hunters are in approval of the agency's deer-management program", a 72-hour telephone survey was conducted in mid-April 2016. Those who were surveyed were asked if they approved of the Commission's current deer-management program, or if they were in favor of deer-management reform.
The survey included 110 sportsmen clubs and businesses from the central and northern portions of the state. A sampling of five county chambers of commerce representing roughly 2,000 businesses were only listed as five (5) contacts on the survey. No individual sportsmen were called, only sportsmen clubs with most ranging from about 1,000 to 10,000 members. Some were much larger. Of the 110 contacts, 109 were in favor of deer management reform, and only 1 call resulted in favor of PGC (and even that was due to a political connection). This represents only a small microcosm of the many thousands of businesses and many hundreds of thousands of sportsmen who want dramatic deer management reform. The survey counted about 700,000 sportsmen who want reform. Their comments were compiled, and the animosity for the Game Commission cannot fully be described, in that many of the comments by club presidents and business owners were so laden with expletives that they were omitted from this report. It is a demonstration of the overwhelming degree of dissatisfaction with the Commission's deer-management program, and the desire for dramatic legislative reform.
Of the sportsmen clubs and outdoor-industry related businesses that were surveyed, 96% of the sportsmen associations, 99.8% of the members (as represented by the total membership of the associations), and 100% of the businesses were opposed to the Game Commission's deer-management program and were, instead, in favor of legislative deer-management reform.
Results of the Survey
A. Coalition of Pennsylvania Sportsmen. A baseline coalition of sportsmen, firearms owners, and state camp owners comprised of five organizations and representing about 600,000 members has spear-headed efforts to reform the current deer-management program through passage of new deer management legislation. This Coalition of Pennsylvania Sportsmen (COPS) consists of:
1. Allegheny County Sportsmen's League (ACSL), serving as the voice of 200,000 sportsmen.
2. Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania (USP), representing 70,000-100,000 members.
3. Eastern Pennsylvania Firearms Coalition (EPFC), representing 150,000-175,000 members.
4. Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC) representing 2,800 members and 107,000 contacts.
5. Pennsylvania State Camp Association (PSCA), representing 5,000 state-leased camps and over 60,000 members.
These organizations are depicted in the following table, and their individual letters of support of deer management reform - a pending deer management and accountability bill - are available upon request.
COALITION OF PENNSYLVANIA SPORTSMEN
• Allegheny County Sportsmen's League
• The voice of 200,000 sportsmen (www.acslpa.org).
• Jack Walters, President • Mike Christeson, 1st V-President • Klint Macro, 2nd V-President
(412)884-2148 (724)222-6160 (724)212-7006
• Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania
• Randy Santucci, Chairman • Wayne Haas, President
• Stephen Mohr, Vice President
• Eastern Pennsylvania Firearms Coalition
• Representing 150,000-175,000 members (www.easternpafc.org).
• Jack Iannantuono, Co-Chairman
• Firearm Owners Against Crime
• Representing 2,800 members and 107,000 total contacts (www.foac-pac.org ).
• Kim Stolfer, President
• Pennsylvania State Camp Association
• Representing 5,000 state-leased camps and over 60,000 members (www.pscla.org)
• Martin Salinas, President
B. Sportsmen Associations. The following sportsmen clubs and firearms organizations are in favor of immediate deer-management reform:
6. Buffalo Valley Sportsmen's Association (Secretary Charles Mensch), Mifflinburg, PA (570-966-2606): 900 members.
7. Union County Sportsmen's Club (President Orville Spangler), Winfield, PA (570-473-0142): 4,000 members.
8. Rapid Run Rod and Gun Club (Captain Ray Gessner), Mifflinburg, PA (570-966-1717): 19 members.
9. Half-Way Rod and Gun Club (Secretary/Treasurer Phil Wagner), Mifflinburg, PA (570-966-2272): 18 members.
10. May Hollow Sportsman's Club (Bob Faline), Driftwood, PA (814-546-2428): 800-900 members.
Personal Statement: We definitely need more deer.
11. Bucktail Rod and Gun (President Frank Armanini), Emporium, PA (814-486-0941): 800 members.
Personal Statement: Half of our members come from around the state. Nobody up here agrees with the Game Commission's deer program. We need reform. Don't know why they did it or why it’s permitted. DCNR wants the deer totally wiped out. They think deer hunters are stupid. They have a hate-the-deer attitude.
12. Mosquito Creek Sportsmen's Association (President Karen Price), Frenchville, PA (814-345-5052): 6,000 members.
Personal Statement. The high number of doe tags needs to be stopped. We need habitat improvement for deer and grouse. We need to return to the county system – nobody knows where they're hunting. We're losing our next generation of hunters. Definitely in support of the new deer management (and accountability) bill.
13. Sinnemahoning Sportsmen's Club (President Carol Fiedt), Sinnemahoning, PA (814-546-2594): 3,800 members.
Personal Statement. We're absolutely on board. Very much so! We walk the walk. We live it; we see it. People who don't live here don't know how bad it is. There must be reform. You have our full support (regarding the pending deer management and accountability bill).
14. West Decatur Sportsmans Club (President Mike Welder), West Decatur, PA (814-553-5909): 250-300 members.
Personal Statement. Our biggest problem is too much doe pressure. Archery season should return to its intended purpose – an opportunity to hunt in a traditional way. We strongly support deer management reform and new legislation.
15. Central Counties Concerned Sportsmen's Association (President Frank Josefik Jr.), Morrisdale, PA (814-577-2194): over 10,000 members.
Personal Statement: We are an umbrella organization for sportsmen in Centre, Clearfield, and Cambria Counties. We currently represent 16 clubs (see below). The Game Commission needs to know that we are losing youth hunters. Last year 100 kids signed up for our hunter education class, 67 of them showed up, and only 3 of them got hunting licenses even though we had offered to pay for their first youth license. We're in full support of the deer management reform legislation.
Current member organizations are:
16. Bald Eagle Sportsmen's Association.
17. Bald Eagle Trout Tournament Association.
18. Bennetts Valley Rod & Gun Club.
19. Burnside Sportsmen Association.
20. State Camp Lease Association.
21. Glen Richey Sportsmen's Association.
22. Goshen Township Sportsmen's Association.
23. Mosquito Creek Sportsmen's Association.
24. Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited.
25. Port Matilda Sportsmen's Association.
26. Smokey Valley Sportsmen's Association.
27. Susquehanna Rod & Gun Club.
28. Susquehanna Wild Turkey Federation.
29. West Decatur Sportsmans Club.
30. Three-Points Sportsmen's Association.
31. Cooper Township Sportsmen's Association.
32. American Gun Owner Alliance (Dave Dalton), Mountainhome, PA: An alliance representing 165 groups and organizations in 48 states. There are 18 groups and organizations in Pennsylvania that belong to the alliance.
Mission Statement: The loss of hunters represents a significant risk to our Second Amendment rights. Our goal is to educate and inform non gun owners, bring groups together in support of constitutional law, and oversee legislative actions in support of gun ownership.
C. Businesses for Deer-Management Reform. The following chambers of commerce, tourism associations, and businesses are in favor of deer-management reform.
33. Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce/Lycoming County Visitors Bureau (Jason Fink, Executive Vice-President) Williamsport, PA (570-320-4213): Representing 937 businesses and organizations.
Personal Statement. There are several factors that come into play when identifying the problems surrounding deer management. Some are social in nature. However some are due to Game Commission policy. There needs to be concerned legislative involvement regarding deer management reform. Habitat improvement is an important issue.
34. Cameron County Chamber of Commerce (Executive Director Tina Solak), Emporium, PA (814-486-4314): Representing 100 businesses.
Personal Statement: The deer program has been economic suicide for Cameron County. Deer season used to represent our biggest economic generator. Now the biggest, at a distant second, is fishing, followed by bear season and elk tourism. Deer season is dead last. We don't care if the deer and racks are bigger. We care about more deer.
35. Clearfield Chamber of Commerce (Director Kim McCullough), Clearfield, PA (814-765-7567): Representing over 320 businesses and organizations.
Personal Statement: The future of hunting is at stake. Many of our hunters can't afford to spend more for a license, and will quit. Combined with the lack of deer, we will continue to lose hunters.
36. DuBois Chamber of Commerce, DuBois Pennsylvania: Serving 14 municipalities and townships.
37. Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce (Christina Clancy), Ridgway, PA (814-776-1424): Representing about 200 members.
Personal Statement: More deer bring more hunters to the county. Hunters buy goods and services. Businesses benefit.
38. The Potter County Visitors Association could not be reach when this list was created. However, as of 2013 former association president, Jack Krafft, stated that of 145-150 businesses belonging to the PCVA, over 60 were for sale because of deer reduction. This does not count the small businesses that do not belong to the PCVA that have already closed or are now for sale.
39. First Fork Lodge (Owner Jack Krafft), Austin, PA (814-647-8644).
Personal Statement: "On Eleven Mile Run Road I counted only 9 vehicles in 11 miles on the first day of deer season, and on the first Saturday only 1 vehicle in 11 miles. Traditionally the lodge has had the same 27 out-of-state hunters on the first week of rifle buck season. Combined, the 27 hunters saw only 10 deer during the week. Only 2 returned, representing a loss of $60,000 for the lodge." Jack lost 55 of 57 out-of-state bow hunters because of the lack of deer. They said that they would hunt in Wisconsin or Michigan in the future. There were nine motels for sale between Galeton and Coudersport.
40. South Park Supply (Owner Kim Artman), Emporium, PA (814-486-5815).
Personal Statement: I lost 60% of my business because of deer reduction program. The loss of hunters has resulted in removing hunting equipment from the store. Now fishing is foremost, although far behind hunting.
41. Elk County Ammo and Arms (Rich Quiggle) St. Marys, PA (814-765-9318).
42. Bob's Army and Navy Store (Owner Bob Grimminger), Clearfield, PA (814-765-4652).
Personal Statement: The herd is not recovering. Hunted more this year than in past several years, and saw only 10 deer all season. Saw no quality buck in archery season. Believe antler restrictions are harming the herd. Friday before buck season used to be wall-to-wall hunters; now that's gone. Estimate hunting business down about 30%.
43. River Valley Surplus (Ralph Dussia), Ridgway, Pa (814-773-3237).
Personal Statement: PGC ruined the best tourism industry. Used to sell 50-60 boxes of shells on Friday before deer season, and now 2-3. After 35 years, business is down 50-60%.
44. Willows Inn (Jim Hetrick), Driftwood, PA (814-546-2383).
Personal Statement: Hunting season used to be a busy, busy time. Not so, now. Deer hunting is pretty much at rock bottom. There's a dramatic impact to businesses in the area. Camps are mostly unused. Business is down 25-35%.
45. Buttonwood Motel and Restaurant (Owner Bruce Bush), Driftwood, PA (814-486-0522).
Personal Statement: Makes him angry that the Game Commission now says that they overshot the deer in some areas when for years they blamed the lack of deer on hunters' inability to find them. Crossbows are not a primitive weapon, and should not be permitted during the archery season. Cross-bows will eventually hurt the bear population and are hurting rifle hunters. They say that deer are coming back in some areas, but it's not because of good management. It's because the guys have quit hunting because of the lack of deer. Business is off 50% in deer season. Shale gas drillers and the extended bear season is saving my bacon. If they don't do something, the tradition of hunting will be lost.
46. Pennsylvania Taxidermist Association (President Jason Krause), Pine Grove, PA: Over 400 members with individual taxidermy businesses, and representing about 1270 Pennsylvania taxidermists licensed under the Department of Agriculture.
Personal Statement (Jason Krause): Antler restrictions are beneficial for my business. However, the deer herd needs to be increased. Sees few deer near his camp in Lycoming County, and few deer in Schuylkill County. Concerned about the future of sport hunting. Definitely in favor of broad-scale habitat enhancement. The commission is mistakenly adjusting the deer herd to fit the habitat when they should be adjusting the habitat to help wildlife. Grouse – what are they?
Personal Statement (Robert Hutchinson, previous President of PTA, Mt. Pleasant, PA): There is a lack of deer. Hunters are fed up and not buying licenses. After 38 years in the business, I'm forced to pull in more work from Africa and North American big game because of the decline of the deer herd.
D. Response to USP's Planned Town Hall Meeting. In 2013, Randy Santucci, President of Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania (USP) , organized a Town Hall Meeting for Pennsylvania's rural business owners who wished to "express your concern on how this (deer reduction) has affected your business, and the future impact (on the economy). Our intent is to conduct an interactive town hall type meeting to inform the current administration that the PGC deer program is seriously flawed and must immediately change. Pennsylvania deer management must be restructured and balanced to benefit our hunting industry and business community, not just forestry and ideological biodiversity special interests."
Invitations were extended to the governor and his staff, his sportsmen advisory council members, key legislators, and the media. Over 60 businesses responded to this forum for deer management reform:
47. Grice Gun Shop (Tom and Dustin Grice), Clearfield, PA (reported to be the largest gun shop in the state): Clearfield County.
48. CNB Bank (Joe Yaros), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
49. Kettle Creek Inn (Brenda and Mike Hand), Westport, PA: Clinton, County.
50. Tippy Canoe Inn (Frank Pagley), Tidioute, PA: Warren County.
51. Baughman's Market (John Baughman), Marienville, PA: Forest County.
52. Avondale Hotel (Rick Ames), Winburne, PA: Clearfield County.
53. Jim's Sports Center (Daniel Malloy), Clearfield, PA: Clearfield County.
54. L.C. Jordan's Restaurant, Frenchville, PA: Clearfield County.
55. WKQW Radio Oil City / WWCH Radio Clarion (W.S. Hearst), Clarion, PA: Clarion County.
56. East End Beverage Inc. (Ken Lewis), Emporium, PA: Cameron County.
57. WeeBulls (Jeff Smeal), Driftwood, PA: Cameron County.
58. Quehanna Motor Lodge Inc (Vicki Lupold, Owner), Karthaus, PA: Clearfield County.
59. Shultz Toyota (Jodie Sanders), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
60. Riverfront Bar and Grill (Vincent Harter), Karthaus, PA: Clearfield County.
61. Black Forest Trading Post (Jim Verbjan), Ulysses, PA: Potter County.
62. Viola's Rest, Bradford, PA: McKean County.
63. Cock-Eyed Cricket, Inc. (David Crumrine), Austin, PA: Potter County.
64. Galeotti (Carl Benedict), Austin, PA: Potter County.
65. Sears (Joann Austin / Chris Works), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
66. Stoney North Ent. Inc. (Keith Sandors), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
67. Marche Club (Anthony Polucci), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
68. Elk Mountain Winery ((Jennifer Keniston), Weedville, PA: Elk County.
69. George's Barber Shop, Bradford, PA: McKean County
70. Benezette Wines (Sylvia and Doug Ruffo), Benezette, PA: Elk County.
71. Pokey's Bar,West Decatur, PA: Clearfield County.
72. Genna Beer Distributing (Brad Holdren), Philipsburg, PA: Clearfield County.
73. Sinnemahoning Tavern (Donna Heindel), Sinnemahoning, PA: Cameron County.
74. Bradford Pipe and Supply (Dennis Perkins), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
75. Philips General Store (Rich Philip), Driftwood, PA: Cameron County.
76. The Gun Shop (Frank Gilmore), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
77. Hotel Holley (Joe Troutman), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
78. The Farm Family Restaurant (Alan Priest), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
79. VFW Post 8386 (Commander), Frenchville, PA: Clearfield County.
80. Micale Fabricators Inc. (Jeff Pascarella), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
81. Austin Campground (John and Kathy Berthoud), Austin, PA: Potter County.
82. Tops Markets (Michael Kearns), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
83. Township of Bradford (Gayle Bauer), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
84. City of Bradford (Mayor Tom Riel), Bradford, PA: McKean County.
85. Medix Hotel (Peggy DeCarli), Weedville, PA: Elk County.
86. Bob's Army and Navy Store (Robert Grimminger), Clearfield, PA: Clearfield County.
87. Benezette Hotel (Brian Kunes), Benezette, PA: Elk County
88. Elk Back Bar (Douglas Huff), Weedville, PA: Elk County.
89. Jeeppinn Tavern (Melinda Buchanan), Weedville, PA: Elk County.
90. West Side Dist. (Joseph Andersen), Clearfield, PA: Clearfield County.
91. Force Hotel (Victor Gregori Jr.), Force, PA: Elk County.
92. Denny's Beer Barrel Pub Inc. (Dennis Liegey), Clearfield, PA: Clearfield County.
93. Snow Shoe Sandwich Shop (Ray Rees), Snow Shoe, PA: Centre County.
94. Redwood Inn (Peggy Smith), Frenchville, PA: Clearfield County.
95. Rees Truckstop Inc., Snow Shoe, PA: Centre County.
96. White Dist. Co. (John and Jenny White) Morrisdale, PA: Clearfield County.
97. Brenda's Tavern (Brenda Peters), Bellefonte, PA: Centre County.
98. Black Forest Inn (Thomas Shearer), Lock Haven, PA: Lycoming County.
99. Sterling Run Tavern (John Ullman), Driftwood, PA: Cameron County.
100. Black Forest Inn (George Kelly /Kim Miller), Lock Haven, PA: Lycoming County.
101. Valley Hotel (Thomas Smith), Mill Hall, PA: Clinton County.
102. Beech Creek Hotel (Charles and Merleen Gundlach), Beech Creek, PA: Clinton County.
103. Waterville Tavern (Al Harakel), Waterville, PA: Lycoming County.
104. Pat Reeder's Tavern (Dale Riggle), Renovo, PA: Clinton County.
105. Kinney's Country Store and Bar (Jeff Kinney), Crossfork, PA: Potter County.
106. Flagstone Tavern (Krista Fink), Jersey Shore, PA: Lycoming County.
107. Klinefelters Video and Sporting Goods (Emory Klinefelter), Beech Creek, PA: Clinton County.
108. The New Whitehorse Inn (Tony Friday), Brynedale, PA: Elk County.
109. Weedville Hotel (Jeremy Rippey), Weedville, PA: Elk County.