A youth-only hunt for wild pheasants didn’t lead to many birds killed. But iot did offer lots of fun.
Photo: Pa Game Commission
All those wild pheasants living in Pennsylvania before mid-November?
They’re mostly still there.
A special youth-only hunt held in the Central Susquehanna wild pheasant recovery area generated a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.
But harvest? Not so much.
As might be expected with wary birds and inexperienced hunters, there was a whole lotta shooting and a whole lotta missing. Thirty-six youth hunted two mornings, split between five farms. They flushed 131 birds, including 70 roosters. Sixty-six shots were fired.
Yet the kids killed just five ringnecks.
But the event was a success, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials said.
The agency – together with Pheasants Forever – began working to bring wild pheasants back to Pennsylvania more than a decade ago.
Thousands were imported from other states. Several pheasant recovery areas were established.
Not all worked, by the commission’s own admission.
But the Central Susquehanna produced birds like no other. So it was set for the hunt.
Biologists collected data from the five birds taken. All of the youngsters, meanwhile, went home with gifts from Pheasants Forever.
There are pink ribbons for to highlight breast cancer research. Greene ribbons for cerebral palsy. Purple ribbons for pancreatic cancer and domestic violence awareness.
The Hunting Awareness ribbon.
So why not orange camouflage ribbons for, you guessed it, hunting awareness?
A Pennsylvania teacher who’s spent more than 20 years trying to reach urban youth through outdoor education is behind the idea.
John Annoni founded Camp Compass Academy in 1994. It’s goal is to teach hunting and firearms education to inner city youths.
It’s been successful, he said. Yet, he said those efforts need “to be embraced not only by grassroots sectors but by those with power and privilege in the outdoor industry.”
That’s where the ribbons come in. They’re meant to unit sportsmen and women and, most importantly, “encourage people to become active in mainstream society by showing off their ribbon. It will help raise awareness, and educate about the benefits hunting and outdoor heritage traditions offer.”
Ribbons are available at HuntingAwareness.com.
Legislation that would merge the Game and Fish and Boat commissions is on the books.
State Rep. Martin Causer, a Potter County Republican, sponsored House Bill 1919. It has 12 co-sponsors.
Causer introduced the bill in retaliation for Fish and Boat Commission action. Board members gave executive director John Arway the authority to cut $2 million from the agency budget starting July 1. Arway said he would do it by closing the Oswayo trout hatchery and stock 240,000 fewer trout, among other things.
Oswayo is in Causer’s district. His home area would lose fish under the plan outlined, too.
That drew his ire and prompted the merger bill. It is 82 pages long.
The bill is in the House game and fisheries committee.
Meanwhile, a bill that would partially merger the commissions sits there, too.
Hunters go into the woods with bows and firearms, arrows and ammunition, knives, and other tools.
But do they also need insurance?
Maybe so, says one company. And it’s offering just such legal protection in 20 states, including Pennsylvania, with the goal of going nationwide by the end of 2018.
U.S. LawShield – which operates a self-defense legal program for gun owners – recently introduced HunterShield.
According to the company, the program will educate hunters and anglers about the laws in their state. Should a sportsman violate one of those laws, company attorneys will represent them in criminal and civil cases.
Seedlings for schools
More school children across western Pennsylvania will soon plant trees for wildlife.
That’s courtesy of a $25,000 EQT Foundation grant. The money went to the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation. It will use it to expand the reach of the “seedlings for schools” program.
Started in 2008, the program connects children with nature.
During the last two years, nearly 300,000 students and 1,000 schools across the commonwealth have participated.
The program is open to all school-age children. And any teacher can request a free seedling for each student. Additionally, resource guides to help educators develop lesson plans ephasizing the role trees play in the environment are available.