LETTER Managing wildlife continues to be politicized
I attended a seminar hosted by Rep. Bud Cook at the Monongahela Fire Department on Sept. 28. The subject was concealed darry/hunting safety, and the speakers were Tom Fazi and Richard Joyce from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and my longtime friend, Kim Stolfer, Firearms Owners Against Crime.
The seminar was well attended and very informative. Fazi is the PGC SW Regional director, and RJoyce is our local WCO (wildlife conservation officer). Stolfer is the founder of FOAC and has authored a number of bills protecting gun owner rights in Pennsylvania.
As you may or may not know, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission were established by the General Assembly as independent agencies. They did this specifically to insulate these agencies from political influence. The Legislature made these agencies responsible for the management of all wildlife, fish, reptiles and mammals in the state, and it is the Legislature’s responsibility to insure that these agencies are adequately funded. These agencies are supported solely by those of us who buy hunting and fishing licenses. No tax money from the state is used to support these agencies in any way. The PGC has not had a license increase in 19 years, and the PFBC about half that long, and both are now having to reduce services to remain financially solvent.
Cook is a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee and has scorned these agencies in conversations with me personally, yet he has no qualms about taking full advantage of their free services when he asked Fazi and Joyce to speak at his seminar. Cook and Rep. Pam Snyder both voted to table license increase bills for both agencies when they came up for a vote on April 26. We certainly hope that Cook and Snyder will fulfill their obligation to see to it that the PGC and the PFBC are adequately funded when SBs 30 and 192 come up for a vote again.