About the Investigation
For over a century, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has competently managed the wildlife resources of the Commonwealth – conserving game animals with respect for the ability of the forest to sustain harvests in the interest of sportsmen for recreational hunting, and preserving nongame birds and mammals for the benefit of all citizens. PGC's wildlife and forest management balance of art and science had maintained a biodiverse ecosystem rich with native flora and fauna, and a hunting reputation of national acclaim. For decades, Pennsylvania was recognized as one of the top deer-hunting states in the nation.
However, the turn of the new millennium witnessed a change in PGC's wildlife management philosophy that shifted the focus away from the pursuits of traditional game management and sport hunting, and toward nongame management and forestry interests. As a result, over a five-year period from 2000-04 PGC implemented a drastic statewide deer herd reduction program and has kept the statewide herd at an exceedingly low level from 2005 to the present. Although the agency claimed that this unprecedented action was a scientific necessity, many sportsmen, legislators, and members of the agency's own board of commissioners questioned the wisdom of the new policy. Until independent scientific investigations were conducted that have culminated in the findings of this website, sportsmen and decision-makers within the State Senate and House of Representatives, the Office of the Governor, and PGC's Board of Commissioners have had little recourse but to trust in the integrity of the agency to honorably uphold its legislated mission. To date, little has been done either internally by the agency or by legislative action to resolve what has been deemed as the greatest conservation mistake in the over-one-hundred-year-history of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
In 2000-01, John Eveland was asked by the Senate Minority Leader to assess PGC's deer-reduction program. In 2007, he was requested by the Office of the Governor and, again, from 2008-09 by the Majority Leader of the House Game and Fisheries Committee to determine if the Game Commission's deer, forest, and wildlife management policies were scientifically valid and socioeconomically responsible. In 2010, members of PGC's Board of Commissioners asked Eveland to prepare a new deer management plan for them in the event that they could muster a majority of votes to halt the deer-reduction program.
From Eveland's investigations, there are two over-riding conclusions: (1) that no significant benefits have resulted after 17 years of herd reduction—not for science, society, nor economy—while the negative impacts to the future of sport hunting and the Commonwealth have been great; and (2) that PGC's deer-reduction program is designed to serve foresters and fringe environmentalists at the expense of sportsmen, recreational hunting, and the general outdoor interests of Pennsylvania's citizens. As such, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has been in direct and deliberate violation of State Law -- PGC's legislated mission in accordance with Title 34 (The Game and Wildlife Code) as well as The Pennsylvania Constitution. Therefore, there is no reason that PGC's deer-reduction program should have been initiated in 2000 or continued to the present, and there are overwhelming reasons for the program to be immediately ended.
Friends of Pennsylvania Wildlife is a conglomeration of 600,000-700,000 documented citizens from all walks of life who appreciate abundant wildlife and healthy forests, and who enjoy recreating in Pennsylvania's great outdoors. From years of in-depth investigations, a comprehensive assessment of PGC's unprecedented action is presented in this website. The results of this investigation will leave no doubt that deer reduction was a politically-motivated agenda, concocted by only three people, that has cost the Commonwealth billions in lost dollars and that remains unjustified on every front -- science, society, economy, legality, public relations, and even common sense.
HB 1483 was designed to assist the Commission in returning to its State Law mission as directed by the Pennsylvania Joint Legislature, and to resolve this wildlife conservation crisis in the best interests of all factions -- wildlife and the health of the forest ecosystem, the traditional interests of sportsmen, the economic and social stability of rural communities and the multi-billion-dollar outdoor industry, the recreational interests of over 12 million citizens of the Commonwealth, and even the best interests of foresters, environmentalists, and the Game Commission, itself.