Rule changes up for discussion

Pennsylvania Game commissioners debated a couple of possible rules changes at their most recent working group meeting.

Neither may go anywhere.

Commissioner Tim Layton of Windber asked if it might be possible to allow nonresidents to apply for doe licenses at the same time as residents. Right now, people who live within the state get a two-week jump on those who don’t.

Layton said few if any wildlife management units sell out of doe tags right away, so perhaps the rule is antiquated.

Other commissioners don’t seem inclined to go that route, however. Commission Jay Delaney of Luzerne County said he prefers that state residents get the first chance at licenses. Commissioner Ron Weaner of Adams County agreed.

“I just think you’re going to annoy enough people that it’s not going to be worth the hassle,” Weaner said.

Commissioners also touched on the idea of allowing electronic game calls to be used for hunting turkeys and big game.

A call manufacturer pitched the idea to the board in April. A state lawmaker from the manufacturer’s home county also asked for some consideration.

Rich Palmer, director of the agency’s bureau of wildlife protection, investigated the issue and said there’s been “no hue and cry” from hunters to legalize the devices. The state chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation recently came down against their use for fear it would lead to unsustainable harvests, Palmer said.

There are ethical concerns, too, he added. One electronic call is a “feeder repeater,” in that it mimics only the sound of an electronic game feeder starting up. Some, he said, might perceive that as falling outside the guidelines of fair chase.

Weaner said he has no interest in pursuing the legalization of such calls.

“This is like going out of your way to attract the wrath and ire of a whole lot of people,” he said.