Friday, May 27, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA OPINION: Unified Sportsman Case Ends, Deer Wars Continue

An opinion piece from Bob Frye:

The Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management program has survived a challenge.

But don't expect to see peace in this fight.

This past week, Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Barry Feudale dismissed the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania's lawsuit against the commission, which alleged that the commission had acted fraudulently and abused its discretion in reducing deer populations.

The judge ruled that the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management program was not based on bad science, fraud, or bad faith. While the legal issue at hand has been resolved, the losing side is not satisfied. They are now entering the ninth decade of opposition to Pennsylvania's deer management.

Pennsylvania's "deer wars" — which date to the 1930s and have earned the state a national reputation as the worst example of how deer hunters and deer managers can argue like bitter divorcees — have lasted for generations, through audits, reviews, lawsuits, changes in staff and changes in board members.

Read more: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Ruling on Unified Sportsman of Pennsylvania Case

I am not sure how this slipped past me, but here is an update on the Unified Sportsman of Pennsylvania case from last February (h/t to Stan):

A Commonwealth Court ruling handed down Feb. 8 dismissed the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania’s legal challenge to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer management program.

Another so-called “Deer Wars” battle is over, with the USP losing again.

“This court ruling is a strong statement that the Game Commission’s deer management program is being conducted in a sound and scientific manner,” PGC executive director Carl Roe said. “In essence, Commonwealth Court’s latest ruling dismissed the challenge because it lacked merit.

“Our hope is that this second ruling will cease the unnecessary expenditure of sportsmen’s dollars and tax dollars fighting frivolous and baseless lawsuits.”

Read more: Centre Daily Times

NEW BRUNSWICK NEWS: Deer Feeding Bans Might Not Aid In Lyme Fight

Municipal bylaws banning people from feeding deer may not help prevent the spread of Lyme disease, according to a public health official.

Saint John council voted on Tuesday to refer the idea of a bylaw banning people from feeding deer to the city's legal department for advice.

Coun. Bill Farren said the deer cause a wide range of problems, such as carrying ticks infected with Lyme disease. But the proposal to ban the public from feeding deer is receiving mixed reviews.

Dr. Scott Giffin, a provincial medical officer of health in Saint John, said he isn't convinced the proposed bylaw would help prevent the spread of Lyme disease.

"I think the evidence for culling deer herds as a way to control ticks is weak at best and there may be many other reasons for culling deer herds that fall ahead of Lyme disease, that's for sure," he said.

The relationship between deer densities and Lyme is not simple, in part because so many other animals also serve as both hosts for deer ticks and reservoirs of Lyme Disease.

The full story is here: CBC