Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pa Game Commission uses Entrapment Techniques to make Money

The 2007 Whitetail Deer season started off very slow for many Pennsylvania hunters hoping to get that elusive big buck. Combined with a drastically reduced deer herd, caused by the over issuing of antlerless (doe) hunting licenses by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) over the last several years, these hunters were also met with one cold and rainy inclement weather day. Rainy and cold, us humans don't like to be cold and wet, neither do the deer. The few deer that do remain after the recent onslaught of over issuing deer licenses remain hold up in there hiding places out there in the woods.

All names and locations below have been left out to protect the privacy of any person(s) who may have been involved with or have any knowledge of similar activities involving the Pa Game Commission or Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCO).

Now to the story.

It's now day 2 of the 2007 deer season in the great state of Pennsylvania. Day 2 is a nicer day, overcast with sunshine and looks like it might be a good day of hunting. Our expectations of a productive day seem good. Starting the day at 6am like any other day, our small hunting crew put on drive after drive spread out over several hundred acres of prime hunting lands. Our results by noon - a grand total of 3 deer seen by a few members of hunting crew. No deer taken as there were no safe shots and none were bucks. 4-5 years ago these same areas have easily produced 70 - 80% success rate and still leaving enough deer for next deer.

The purpose of deer hunting is to control deer population at a healthy level within the ecosystem while at the same time providing a fun and enjoyable outdoor experience for all those who pursue these elusive animals. Deer hunting is not the near elimination of the deer herd as created by the PGC so that the auto insurance does not have any more deer damage claims or so that the logging companies don't lose a few dollars because the deer nibble a few trees. After all the deer need to eat too. How would you like to eat twigs and sticks all day and get shot because you were eating a little bit of healthy corn?

The days not even over yet, it's only around 2pm in the afternoon and we have decided like other local hunters disgusted with the Pa Game Commissions handling of the deer population over the last several years to call it quits and head in for the day. We'll try again tomorrow.

The deer population here as is other areas a highly debated topic, hunters who are actually in the field reporting little to no deer numbers, while the Pa Game Commission reports a healthy deer population numbers. This will be a report for a another time.

OK, back to the we're done for the day and heading home. While traveling along this rough wilderness path on our way back to civilization (stated because the cellphone doesn't even work here) a deer is spotted laying down a short distance in the woods. As with any deer, especially one this close, one has to move quickly or a good clean shot is lost. Food for the family gone. One member exited the vehicle, walked away from vehicle slowly, knelt down, and took a nice clean and legal shot.

Did he get the deer? Oh yea, he hit a perfect neck shot - this guy don't miss, but the deer never moved, not even a flinch. It was a fake, a phony deer set up under the authority of the Pennsylvania Game Commission to lure and entrap unsuspecting hunters. Not bad thinking actually by those within the Pa Game Commission as a way to increase funds, as their fees collected from licenses has been diminishing the last few years because of their mismanagement of the deer herd. This is actually intelligent, armed with the knowledge that deer numbers are low and during the day before the word of the day was "there just is not any deer left", lets set up a phony deer, entrap a few law abiding hunters who otherwise would not have shot at such a deer and make some money from them. With fines ranging from $100.00 to $1000.00 or more depending on the alleged offenses - this could make for a profitable day for the Pa Game Commission, and local district magistrate as well, as he/she has got to get some fees out of the deal too.

Now conducting oneself while hunting in an unethical manner and/or participating in illegal hunting practices is not approved or condoned behavior. In the above story it was mentioned that one member exited the vehicle, etc and shot. While in many cases this act is illegal, however the location that these above events occurred are within the legal bounds of applicable Game Laws and laws of the state of Pennsylvania. It is the actions of Wildlife Conservation Officers working under the direction of the Pennsylvania Game Commission who are flirting the edges of ethical and legal enforcement of such laws.

It is almost certain that many of those issued citations from the minimum of $100 to maybe even $300 citations just paid their fines for the convenience of not having to go to court. And chances are their gun was seized by the WCO who issued citations from his unethical use of bait deer to entrap hunters into committing offenses. Who wouldn't just pay a $100 fine to get their gun back in a day or two. Having seen quite a few of these guns that hunters use nowadays, and they ain't cheap, many are up to and exceeding $1000.00. I'd pay the fine too. If I decided to go to court and defend myself, chances are it would be 6 months or more before I'd get my chance to speak and my gun would probably and up being lost in the bureaucracy, melted down and turned into scrap metal. Heck, it's probably in the soda can I'm drinking now, and I haven't even got a court date yet. Yep, I'd pay the fine too, even though the Pa Game Commission authorized the unethical practices of entrapment by it's WCO's to issue me a citation.

Maybe, if the Pa Game Commission would put the interest of the Pa Whitetail deer in front of the interest of the insurance and logging companies, after all it is the wildlife the PGC and the WCO's serving within are to serve and protect, then participation in hunting, especially by the youth (which has shown a steady trend downwards) will increase thus yielding more revenue from licensing fees.

Then again, maybe entrapping hunters to shoot at fake deer makes more money than selling licenses does.

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