This report showcases what’s working in wildlife conservation, as well as where more work is needed. It also illustrates the varied roles in which the Pennsylvania Game Commission serves as it works with other agencies, partners and the public in performance of its duties. The report also aims to familiarize more Pennsylvanians with the agency, its stakeholders and the resource it so diligently works to protect.
– Executive Director R. Matthew Hough
-Former Commission President Robert W. Schlemmer
Mission: To manage Pennsylvania’s wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats for current and future generations.
Vision: To be the leader among wildlife agencies, and champion of all wildlife resources and Pennsylvania’s hunting and trapping heritage.
The Game Commission’s mission and vision statements guide the agency in all it does. Funded primarily by hunting and furtaker license sales, as well as revenue from things like timber sales and oil or gas leases on state game lands, and a federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, the Game Commission is supported almost entirely by hunters and trappers, or assets that have been procured with license dollars.
-There are 480 species of wild birds and mammals in Pennsylvania. No species has been extirpated through lawful hunting or trapping since the agency’s creation in 1895. The growth among populations of bald eagles, river otters, fishers, elk and black bears are proof-positive of the agency’s effective science-based management.
-Worldwide research into white-nose-syndrome is being led by Game Commission scientists. Agency researchers have developed techniques to identify its presence earlier and have closely tracked surviving bats in a search for answers.
-An unprecedented migration of snowy owls last winter was documented with help from our wildlife biologists. A website, projectsnowstorm.org tracked the migration by mapping movements with research telemetry radios as the owls wintered in the Mid-Atlantic.
Protecting Our Resource
-There are 222 full-time wildlife conservation officers and 360 part-time deputies serving the Game Commission. Each WCO has a coverage area of about 325 square miles. In addition to law-enforcement duties, officers lead hunter-education classes and teach students and communities about wildlife issues.
-The Game Commission’s Woodland Tracking Team, an elite squad of wildlife conservation officers, helped search for alleged fugitive Eric Frein. These officers previously used their skills to save the lives of two individuals lost in the wilderness.
-Officers now are equipped with body cameras, thanks to overwhelming support from the state general assembly. Use of the cameras has been shown to make the jobs of law-enforcement officers safer, and the mobile cameras are a good match for the fieldwork wildlife conservation officers perform.
Our Wildlife Habitat
-Key land acquisitions during the 2013-14 fiscal year included separate purchases that led to the creation of two new state game lands. State Game Land 332 was formed after a 2,297-acre purchase in Indiana County, and State Game Land 335 grew out of a 1,121-acre purchase in Tioga County. The game lands system totals almost 1.5 million acres.
-More than 17,000 nesting structures and 1.8 million seedlings from the Game Commission Howard Nursery were distributed to improve wildlife habitat statewide in 2014.
Ensuring our Hunting Heritage
-The mentored adult hunting permit was created in 2014 as a way to introduce adult newcomers to hunting.
Our Conservation Team
-While state law places with the Game Commission the important task of managing the state’s wildlife resources and their habitats, it goes without saying that he job cannot be carried out without the help of many partners in conservation. Their efforts are vital to fulfilling the agency mission.
-View the full 2014 Annual Report: http://ow.ly/IyVNR (PDF)