If some organization or other entity were to open a treatment center for the terminally clueless, the first crop of patients at that facility should certainly be the eight members of our current Board of Game Commissioners here in Pennsylvania.
This inept octet of pinheads seems bent on micromanaging hunting as we know it right out of existence - especially deer hunting. One only has to review some of the measures passed at last week's quarterly commission meeting to see how out of touch with reality these folks really are.
The April Game Commission meeting is traditionally when the seasons and bag limits for the coming fall and winter are finalized. This is also when the antlerless deer license allocations for the various wildlife management units are presented and approved. And of course, this is the final opportunity for our clueless commissioners to inflict their final tweaks upon those of us who actually hunt. Unfortunately, I only have space here to highlight some of the silliest ones this time around.
WMUs 2A, 2F and 3B have been added to the list of WMUs with the split antlered and antlerless season during the first week of the regular deer season. That means hunters in those units will join those of us in WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E who are forced to wait until the first Saturday of the regular deer season to take a doe if we choose to do so. This the third time the commissioners have modified the concurrent antlered-antlerless season, so that 11 of the 22 WMUs statewide now have the split season rather than the full two-week concurrent season.
Sadly, there are a certain amount of ignorant or uninformed hunters who still don't grasp the concept that our doe harvest is managed by antlerless license allocations and not season length.
So for the umpteenth time, it doesn't matter if we have two days, two weeks or two months of doe season, or if that deer is taken on the first day of the early archery season or the lasts day of the late muzzleloader season.
Even sadder, however, is the commissioners, who should know better, have caved to the wailing of the ignorant and uninformed that we are killing too many does because of the concurrent buck-doe seasons.
I believe there is a strong case to be made that we have shot too many does in too many areas of the state for too many years now. But the way to fix that is simply to allocate fewer doe licenses in those areas, not to cut out five days of hunting during the regular season.
And even sadder still, instead of implementing the more scientific and manageable tactic of reducing the number of doe licenses, the Game Commission deer managers proposed and the clueless commissioners approved a total of 902,000 antlerless licenses for the 2011/2012 hunting seasons. That total represents a 9 percent increase of the 2010/2011 statewide allocation of 815,423, so the trend of herd reduction continues unabated.
The current commissh crew also got around to making the first changes to antler restrictions since those ridiculous regulations were first imposed back in 2002. In WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D, bucks were required to have four points on one antler to be legal game.
Now bucks in those units will only need to have three points on a main antler beam exclusive of the brow tine. Reportedly, many hunters in those units had told some of the commissioners that it is sometimes difficult to see brow tines in hunting situations.
Of course, anyone who has ever actually hunted deer or spent any time in the woods would already be aware of that fact. Apparently, most of the commissioners aren't that familiar with what deer look like.
As someone who spends a considerable time outdoors, I am sure that antler brow tines are just as hard to see here in the three-point units as they are in the four-point units. Why not change the antler restrictions here as well? Or why not just make it three points to a side statewide?
That would simplify things and serve the same purpose. Or better yet, just get rid of antler restrictions altogether. They have never been anything more than a smokescreen anyway, one designed to placate some hunters regarding the overall reduction of the deer herd.
And possibly to make up for the decline in overall deer-hunting satisfaction, the commissioners offer up some new hunting opportunities. First, we will have an extended squirrel season that runs until Feb. 25 of next year. And how about a drum roll and trumpet fanfare for the fact that we now have a season for porcupines.
That's right. From Sept. 1 until March 31 the daily limit is six porcupines. Just remember to wear your 250 inches of orange while you're out there chasing those worthless rodents.