Political web traps state outdoorsmen

Hunters, sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts should beware as there is a movement politically driven by negative House coalition to politicize our game lands.

So now the jewels of our state are to be handed over to the politicians to dice up into golf courses, ski resorts, picnic/camping areas and the like.

These are the lands obtained for us by the game commission with our money that will be handed over to the Pa. General Assembly to manage.

Pennsylvania is the envy of every state. Few states have the lands that our people enjoy for hunting and similar permitted outdoor pursuits. A resident in Pennsylvania need not travel more than 15 minutes to be on game lands.

The wild pristine mountains, hollows, fields and forests of where wildlife, birds and other mammals thrive will be destroyed — all due to selfish actions of a small Republican driven coalition in the House.

Some of you may not know that the Game Commission is an independent agency in our state. Unlike other states where the game officials are controlled by the politicians and bureaucrats.

You may not be aware that the independent Game Commission still has some legislative oversight on setting fees for hunting licenses. Fees that we pay with our hard-earned money, not with the politician’s tax dollars, reserve our right to hunt in our great state and preserve our game lands.

The game commission has not had a license increase since 1999. The game commission has been seeking some legislative relief to allow it to manage and set its own fees with reduced legislative oversight — SB192.

These bills have been passed by the senate by a large majority, with only two nays, for the last two years. So what is the problem? The problem is in the House. Not the whole House, just the Fish & Game Committee.

If the bill gets out of committee and on the floor for vote, it will pass.

These negative Republican committee people are being coordinated by a Political Action Committee FOAC, Firearms Owners Against Crime. Why are these people doing this? It first started as an effort to leverage the game commission to pass regulations that they wanted. One of which was the controversial use of semi-auto or auto-loading rifles for hunting.

The game commission did pass some new regulation to permit SA rifles for hunting based upon input from hunting license holders. There is a continuing agenda to bash the Game Commission. It’s obvious that the effort now is to politicize the agency in lieu of just leveraging it to pass their warped views on hunting regulations.

In 2016, this negative Republican coalition was led by FOAC advanced HB2083. It was a bill that never was passed but caused the ire of not just state hunting and wildlife association but rebuke on a national level from Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, The National Deer Alliance, Pheasants Forever, Rock Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, Quails Forever, and United Bow Hunters.

The bill was advanced again this year as HB1483. There are some minor changes, but it is essentially the same negative bill advanced in 2016 that John Kline, lobbyist from the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, called insane.

These bad-news people have dragged the Fish & Boat Commission into their negative political web. This commission is an independent agency, just like the game commission. So, FOAC have also used its negative politicians to kill a similar funding bill which is HB30. This bill and its twin from 2016 passed the Senate by a large majority just like the PGC bill. Same result, killed in committee.

The F&B commission is in dire straits and has had to drastically curtail operations in 2017 and even more so in planning for 2018.

Also, you need to find out why the Republican party from our state and our counties are supporting these bad politicians. One of these bad eggs is a politician trying to ride Trump’s coattails into Congress. He is Rick Saccone, who has been in the middle of the above negative politics and in supporting insane bills and advancing bad bills against hunting.

Join us in helping to fend off the danger to our game lands? Make your vote count at every opportunity.

Ted Hildabrand

Eighty Four