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Old July 28, 2000, 10:31 AM   #1
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HARRISBURG -- Rawley Cogan, Pennsylvania Game Commission elk biologist, today announced the agency has scheduled four open houses on its elk hunt
recommendations in July. The open houses will be held in McVeytown, Mifflin County, on July 8-9; Franklin, Venango County, July 15-16; Dallas, Luzerne County, July
22-23; and Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, July 29-30.

"People who attend these open houses will be able to learn more about Pennsylvania’s growing elk herd and reasons behind the need for re-establishing a
limited elk hunt," said Cogan, who chaired the Elk Hunt Advisory Committee. "The open house format is intended to solicit input from the public on a
variety of issues that, from a biological standpoint, will not affect our ability to properly manage the elk population. However, the committee recognizes
these issues may be important to various publics.

Rawley Cogan

"These open houses are essentially an interactive event with several stations staffed by a handful of Game Commission employees, including regional representatives.
Each station will have a display focusing on issues related to the elk hunt plan."

The meetings will be held:

July 8-9, at the McVeytown Fire Hall, Route 22, McVeytown, Mifflin County;
July 15-16, at the Rocky Grove Fire Hall, 29 Wood St., Franklin, Venango County;
July 22-23, at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds Complex, Route 118, Dallas, Luzerne County
July 29-30, at the Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus, Building B, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County.

The hours for the two-day open houses are 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sundays.

The first three elk hunt open houses were held in Williamsport, Lycoming County; St. Marys, Elk County; and Kleinfeltersville, Lebanon County.

Created by Commission Executive Director Vern Ross last September, the Elk Hunt Advisory Committee includes representatives of the Pennsylvania Game
Commission; the General Assembly; the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; the agricultural and tourism industries; corporate and conservation partners
in the elk program; and sportsmen. On behalf of the Committee, Cogan presented the recommendations to Ross and the Board of Pennsylvania Game Commissioners in

The Committee began the next phase of public outreach by mailing copies of the report to representatives of various groups that have a direct interest in an elk hunt for
comment. Those groups included: Pennsylvania Game Commission employees in the area; state and local sportsmen and conservation organizations; state and local
elected officials; the Governor’s Sportsmen’s Advisory Council; the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; the Pennsylvania State Police; the Pennsylvania
Fish and Boat Commission; state and local corporate, tourism, agricultural and forestry representatives; the Elk Advisory Committee; various educational institutions; and
other state wildlife organizations. The report also is being provided to local citizens opposed to the elk program and several animal rights groups during the first phase of
public input.

The Game Commission also posted the first version of the elk hunt proposal on its website at (click on "Wildlife," then choose "Elk in Pennsylvania"
and then select "Elk Hunt Advisory Committee Report"). As changes are made, based on public input, the report will be revised.

"We are continuing our pledge to make this an open process," Cogan said. "We are planning to hold open houses throughout the state. We expect to hear differing
opinions about the direction we should take, but we need to open the channels of communication between the Game Commission and the public on this important issue."

In related news, House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Bruce Smith recently announced that legislation he sponsored to create an elk-hunting license for the
Game Commission was approved by his committee. The bill is awaiting further consideration in the House.

Under Smith’s bill, the Game Commission would be permitted to establish a limited number of licenses as a tool to ensure sound management of Pennsylvania’s wild elk
population. As drafted, the bill would allow hunters to pay a non-refundable $10 fee to apply for a drawing for a limited number of elk hunting licenses. If selected,
resident hunters would pay $25 and non-resident hunters would pay $250 for an elk license.

The Game Commission estimates the state’s elk population to be 566 animals, based on three days of aerial survey work over the Allegheny Mountains in Cameron, Elk,
Clinton, Clearfield, Potter and Tioga counties in February. This year’s count is up from 480 in 1999, an increase of nearly 15 percent.

"Based on recent trends, we believe the elk herd will reach 735 by the fall of 2001, and it could be nearly 1,300 by 2005," Cogan said. "If we do not prepare for an elk
hunt, we should expect to face more conflicts with landowners, more vehicle collisions and potential habitat destruction and competition between elk and other wildlife.

"As with other wildlife species, such as deer and bear, we need to move forward with a limited hunting opportunity to ensure the long-term success of our elk herd."

The elk population has been climbing steadily since the late 1980s. Increased use of deterrent fencing in farming areas and aggressive habitat-improvement programs on
public lands have caused population gains by reducing elk conflicts.
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Old July 28, 2000, 12:20 PM   #2
Bottom Gun
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Join Date: October 13, 1998
Location: Elgin, Arizona
Posts: 971
That's great! Glad to see elk making a comeback there.
The proposed license fees are certainly reasonable. A resident elk tag in Arizona is three times that amount.
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Old July 28, 2000, 12:36 PM   #3
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Join Date: December 6, 1999
Location: Fort Atkinson, WI USA
Posts: 143
Wonderful news.

I hope to see the same type of news from Wisconsin one of these days. our herd is estimated at about 50, not 500.

Some day....

Thanks for the good news!
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