WILLIAM W. WILSON: Game Commission acted properly
In a recent article by outdoors columnist Zeke Wilson, he expressed some concern over how the Game Commission is handling a few things. Zeke feels an Amish farmer shouldn’t be penalized for shooting three red-tailed hawks and a bald eagle that were killing his free range chickens.
Birds of prey are a protected species, like it or not. If you get caught shooting one, you pay the penalty.
Free range chickens are easy prey to many predators. If you don’t want your chickens killed, you pen them up.
The farmer got off easy. He was fined $5,000 and up to two years of probation in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. He could have been fined $10,000 and up to two years in jail.
In another eagle shooting in Cambria County, Zeke complained that the Game Commission shouldn’t be using hunting license dollars for offering a reward of $7,000 for information that leads to finding the shooter.
The reward is $7,250. The contributors of that sum are the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Wildlife Trust, Cambria County Crime-Stoppers and the Game Commission.
I believe the reward money, at least on the part of the Game Commission, comes out of the fines imposed on violators.
Zeke also thinks reward money would create false accusations. If reward money helps to turn in a poacher, I’m all for it.
He also believes the Game Commission is putting too much emphasis toward nongame species and not enough on game species.
Our hunting license dollars, which give us the privilege to hunt, helps to give Pennsylvania a huge diversity of wildlife that everyone can enjoy. Without the Game Commission, there would be few, if any, species.
William W. Wilson