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Pennsylvania Game Commission News

Board moves to require experience of exotic wildlife owners
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a proposed regulation change to ensure that those who apply for permits to own, breed, sell or display wild animals defined as “exotic wildlife” have the proper experience. The proposed regulation also seeks to ensure that exotic animals are properly cared for and maintained in a safe environment, while at the same time protecting public health and safety concerns.
As defined in state law, “exotic wildlife” includes, but is not limited to, all bears, coyotes, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, wolves and any crossbreed of these animals which have similar characteristics in appearance or features.
“Under state law, Pennsylvanians are permitted to possess, breed, show or sell exotic wildlife provided they obtain the appropriate permits from the Game Commission and abide by rules and regulations set forth by the agency to ensure not only the animal’s health and safety, but also that of the public,” said David Overcash, director of the agency’s Bureau of Law Enforcement. “These regulatory changes are consistent with our efforts to ensure that only qualified individuals are able to keep and care for these exotic animals.”
As adopted, the regulations will require new applicants for an exotic wildlife dealer, exotic wildlife possession or menagerie permit to provide documentation of at least two years of experience through hands-on work with the designated species. This experience must include, but is not limited to, the care, feeding, handling, training and husbandry of such animals. This experience must be gained through work at a recognized/approved facility and the owner, manager or licensee of the facility must provide a letter of reference attesting to work experience.
Currently, there are 25 exotic wildlife dealer permits, 91 exotic wildlife possession permits and 144 wildlife menagerie permits issued to Pennsylvania residents or businesses.
In 1999, the Board adopted a regulatory change to require new applicants to show that their dealings with exotic wildlife are not in conflict with or in violation of local municipal ordinances or regulations.
Antlerless deer license process to change
In conjunction with the preliminary approval of proposed Wildlife Management Units, the Board of Pennsylvania Game Commissioners also proposed new regulations for issuing antlerless deer licenses.
The 22 proposed Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) are made up of all, or parts of multiple counties.
County treasurers will continue to issue the actual licenses as required by law. However, the initial application process will start with all hunters applying by mail directly to the Game Commission in Harrisburg.
The Game Commission will establish the number of antlerless deer licenses allocated to each WMU. Licenses will be distributed among county treasurers for issuance on the basis of the percentage of land area each county represents in the unit.
The Game Commission will accept applications on a first-come served basis without restriction or regard to the applicant’s county of residence.
Applications received by first class mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters will be examined, unopened, to determine the number of applications received as well as to verify delivery to the intended WMU. It will be unlawful for a county treasurer to accept an antlerless deer license application other than from the Commission.
With the exception of mailing all applications directly to the Game Commission in Harrisburg, most other aspects of the antlerless deer license application process remain unchanged.
The Commission will not accept antlerless deer license applications from state residents prior to Aug. 4, 2003. Applications must be legibly completed and must be mailed in the official envelope provided with a general hunting license. Up to three separate applications may be mailed in the same envelope and the appropriate number on the front of the envelope circled. The return portion of the envelope must contain return first class postage and be self-addressed.
Nonresident hunters may apply for antlerless licenses through the mail to the Game Commission on Aug. 18. The “unsold” antlerless license process would start on Aug. 25. Over-the-counter sales at county treasurer’s offices in WMUs 2B and 5D also will begin on Aug. 25.
An individual whose application is rejected and returned may obtain a new official envelope from a license issuing agent and reapply to a WMU with licenses remaining in its allocation.
Game Commission announces deadline for ads in DIGEST
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross today announced that Liberty Press Publications, publisher of the Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, has set April 1, as the deadline for advertising copy in the 2003-2004 Digest.
“To offset costs, the Game Commission went to a magazine-sized Digest and began accepting paid advertising,” Ross said. “Ad revenues have saved the agency more than $300,000 over the past three years. In addition to improving Digest content by going to a larger, easier to read, full-color format, the ad revenues also enabled the agency to begin including in the
Digest a ‘Hunting Annual’ insert filled with valuable information on wildlife and its management.”
A copy of the digest is given to every license buyer, and a current copy is posted on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) under the”Hunting-Trapping” section.