Message from USP’s “NEW” President

By USP President Phil Wagner

Where will Pennsylvania Deer Hunting be in another 5 or 10 years?


After nearly 20 years of deer reduction on public lands here in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters/sportsmen are now faced with Chronic Wasting Disease spreading across the state and killing more and more deer every year.


The PGC’s’s solution is to massively reduce the deer numbers in the infected areas either by using hunters or sharpshooters. Maybe two months ago, Wayne Haas (past president and CWD Committee Chairman) and myself talked with a PGC official about deer management and CWD.  We told the official that the PGC needs to restore deer to public lands (state forest land and state game lands) if they want to get more hunters back into the woods.  We stated that the PGC has lost the trust of the hunters and that they need to gain that trust back in order to move forward. 


I also stated that another issue that will affect license sales is having so many ticks around in wooded areas that some sportsmen won’t venture into the woods because of possibly contracting Lyme disease.  And then, we have Chronic Wasting Disease, and that is a whole other issue.  The PGC just recently increased Disease Management Area 2 by more than 2,000 square miles.  Last Fall, right before the start of rifle deer season, a hunter from Perry County called me and asked if it was safe for him to eat venison from a deer if he harvested one.  After talking with him about the disease, I told him that I wasn’t going to say yes or no that he would need to make that decision.  If he would call me today, I would tell him that I would not eat it.


Unified is supportive of Dr. Frank Bastian’s research, with assistance from John Eveland, in keeping his research moving forward for the completion of the first stage, the hunter’s field test kit for CWD.  Following that, work will begin on stages 2 and 3 for the vaccine.


This research is expensive; therefore, we are reaching out to businesses and companies for large donations.  With that being said, I would like to ask all members to send us a CWD donation of just $20, or more if you wish, which will be used for CWD Research expenses.  What is deer hunting in Pennsylvania really worth to you?  Do you want your kids and grandkids to have that deer hunting experience?  Once CWD gets established statewide, we are in real trouble.  If you know of a business or someone who might be interested in donating say $5,000,

 $10,000, $25,000 or more please let one of us know so that we can contact them with the details about Dr. Bastian’s research.


Unified is having a special raffle to raise funds for Dr. Bastian’s CWD research with a prize issued each day from December 24 through December 31.  There are 8 prizes, the first 5 are for firearms.  There will only be 1000 tickets sold and the winning number will be determined by the PA Lottery first validated evening Pick-3 number.  Tickets sell for $10.  So, if you would rather get something for your money send me that $20 and I will fill out two tickets for you and call you with the three-digit number on your two tickets. You will need to provide me with your name and phone number. If you want more than two tickets send the appropriate amount of money and put the number of tickets on the note with your name and phone number. Mail your check for whichever you choose made out to Unified Sportsmen of PA to me at:  Phil Wagner, 2020 Green Ridge Road, Mifflinburg, PA 17844.  Any questions call me – 570-966-2272.  Option #1 - $20 – Donation, Option #2 - $20 - two tickets (put a note in the envelope with your information that you want option#1 (donation) or option #2 (two tickets).


                                                      CWD DONATION FORM


Name: _________________________________________Tele. # ________________________


Address: _____________________________________________________________________


City, State, Zip   _______________________________________________________________


Donation Amount: __________________  Email: ______________________________________


Make funds payable to “Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania”.  Please send this form and funding to:  Doug Tyger (Treasurer), 698 Wallace St., Northumberland, PA 17857-1022.  If questions: 814-594-6238.


A local newspaper, The Daily Item, which is published in Sunbury, recently published two large articles about Chronic Wasting Disease and then the following week conducted an online survey and poll gauging as to how concerned valley hunters are about CWD.  A total of 259 people voted on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 was not concerned at all and 10 indicated being ready to quit hunting altogether.  Results of the poll were published on Sunday, June 30th.  There were 36 votes or 14% that voted 1 (not concerned at all), but there were 120 votes or 46% that voted 10 (ready to quit hunting).  The other 125 votes were between 2 and 9.  PGC’s CWD communications specialist, Courtney Colley said “In the long run this could have some pretty serious negative effects.  If we get a higher prevalence level of CWD in the deer herd people may not want to hunt due to health concerns”.


The Daily Item survey results of 259 online voters from Central PA.  Asked to vote on a scale of 1 (not concerned at all) to 10 (ready to quit hunting altogether).


Votes                    Percent

1 Not concerned at all                  36                         14%

2                                                       12                            6%

3                                                         9                            3%

4                                                       11                           4%

5                                                       21                           8%

6                                                       12                           5%

7                                                       11                           4%

8                                                       22                           8%

9                                                         5                            2%

10 READY TO QUIT HUNTING   120                         46%



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