Testimony Quarterly Meeting Franklin Pa. Sept. 24th 2012

As some commissioners seated here today and Director Roe are aware, I as many have testified to this board over the years as disappointed concerned sportsman regarding the management of our deer herd and neglect of hunter opinion and input toward that management. As those trips from me accompanied by my son and many others have resulted in little to no change in deer management, many of us sportsmen have stopped making the trip to Elmerton on our dime, as today Pennsylvania deer hunters continue to be a relative non-factor in deer management criteria.

In response to concern and criticism, this agency has recently agreed to become more transparent in their meeting process, identified by President Martone and the board. Personally this new initiative born from outside pressure, and implemented only now in 2012, is far too late and must move forward aggressively to correct many public relation and game management concerns that sportsmen continually express. Circumstances like Dr. Rosenberry this season requesting an increase in 2G doe allocations by a drastic 86%, radically deviating from his previous requests since 2005, all of which were identified for herd stabilization, makes little to no sense, and flies in stark contrast of sportsman observation of low deer densities in that management unit. These are the types of issues that need public vetting to validate, insuring decisions are benefiting the totality of deer management. Since 2001 Pennsylvania deer management is overlooking the balance needed for social-economic needs with science. As I stated, too many sportsmen, (the funding and in my opinion primary customers of this agency), believe science based management with little to no concern for hunter success is far too weighted in doe allocation decisions in many management units.

This perception of lacking hunter opinion and input which I allude to, is validated within the deer management staff, as expressed in an article in the August edition of Pennsylvania Game News by Jeannine Tardiff Fleegle, who you know is one of the agency's main deer biologists. For those that may not have read it, I highly recommend reading it to grasp the entirety of its condescending expression toward hunters. Keep in mind the Pennsylvania Game News is the official publication of the agency and allows no rebuttals or letters to the editor to be printed. The article is titled “Enough” expressing a chastising tone as if she is speaking to an adolescent child. That assessment of the title is confirmed when she continues on with using a spoiled child at a Target Department Store not getting a blue ball and throwing a temper tantrum as a sort of euphemism or analogy to represent the frustration and disgust from hunters about the deer management program. I have been contacted by sportsmen that are highly offended and insulted being compared to as a child. Further condescending remarks like referencing The Rolling Stones Song Title “You can't always get what you want”! Are reprehensible! She further goes on to use analogies such as 8-track tapes and 5 ¼ floppy discs linking our hunter's positions as stuck in the 70's and the final insult is when she rhetorically asks the question, “do doctors still treat with leaches?

As a small business owner, if any of my employees addressed my customers in this degrading disrespectful manner, there would be serious ramifications! This agency is supposedly professing a new commitment to transparency and connecting with the public as expressed in a recent News Release from Outreach Coordinator Samantha Pedder. One must ask are hunter’s part of the public they want to embrace with this outreach? Hunting license sales have atypically accelerated in decline here since 2004, and the recent survey results from The US Fish and Wildlife Service and The Dept. of the Interior, identify a national increase in hunting and fishing participation .... sadly which Pennsylvania is not a part of. Contrary to agency opinion, Pennsylvania is NOT in line with any national hunting trend, we have created an unenviable trend all our own!

I request as President of The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania and a seated member of The Governor's Advisory Council, that this board of commissioners will see it clear to put more respect for hunters and sportsmen back in the decisions and attitudes of their deer management staff personnel. They must be made aware that “forest based management objectives” as Biologist Fleegle refers, is not the “end all” regarding how deer in this state need to be managed. Juvenile disrespectful pompous journalism like that of biologist Fleegle, essentially spitting in the face of sportsmen, certainly contributes to the poor public relation issues surrounding this agency. In the interest of reparation to our sportsmen, I am requesting at the very least, an apology be printed in the next issue of Game News rescinding remarks from Biologist Fleegle that are not only insidious, but disrespectful toward those that pay her compensation.

Randy Santucci
121 Beaver Grade Road
Mckees Rocks Pa. 15136
President of The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania
Member of The Governor's Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation





©2011 • Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania