Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Allegheny Rule Change Sparks Debate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Allegheny Rule Change Sparks Debate

Article excerpt

The note received by state Game Commission board president Robert Schlemmer was sincere and gracious:

"I want to thank you for changing the game rules surrounding the 2B extended season," it read. "My wife and I ... live in a heavily hunted area of Washington Township and this should ease the pressure a lot. Thank you for thinking of landowners."

Charged with protecting the varied and sometimes conflicting interests of hunters, landowners, businesses, wildlife and other stakeholders in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Washington and Westmoreland counties, Schlemmer, of Export, said the April vote to change the boundaries of the antlerless deer extended firearms season in Wildlife Management Unit 2B and other urban areas was, like many of the board's decisions, "a balancing act."

Under the new rule, hunting antlerless deer with slug guns in the Dec. 26-Jan. 25 season remains legal. Portions of 2B that lie outside of Allegheny County -- including parts of Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland and Butler counties -- are closed to hunting with regular firearms during the late season. Parts of Allegheny that lie within WMU 2A -- near Clinton and Imperial -- are open for hunting with regular firearms. The regulation change does not impact the Dec. 26-Jan. 11 statewide antlered and antlerless archery hunt and its Jan. 13-25 2B extension, or the Dec. 26-Jan. 25 antlered and antlerless flintlock season in 2B. The special regulation barring the use of centerfire rifles in Allegheny County applies.

County-based boundaries, not WMUs, are to be used for the same hunting season in highly populated Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

"What typically happens is we have a lot of antlerless allocations in 2B, and folks have been taking them from Allegheny County into the peripheral area," said Schlemmer, who worked for three years to get the rule passed. "It's a social issue, something that's important to landowners outside of Allegheny County. This is another tool we have to work with."

But many hunters and the Game Commission's divisions of enforcement and wildlife management don't see it that way. …

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