HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s autumn driving tours, which provide a scenic glimpse of all that state game lands have to offer, have been canceled this year due to financial constraints.
The tours, which have provided the public an opportunity to interact with Game Commission personnel directly responsible for managing and protecting game lands, have proven popular. Some tours, like the 17-mile tour through State Game Lands 211 in Dauphin and Lebanon counties, or the 28-mile circular tour through State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County, regularly attract thousands of people each year.
While the tours are free to participants, they come at a cost to the Game Commission, which incurs personnel costs associated with planning, preparing for and hosting the tours.
Source: Game Commission Details
Actually, the section in bold is not quite true.
Unlike most state agencies, the Game Commission does not receive an allocation from the state’s general fund. The agency is funded primarily by hunters and trappers, either through the purchase of their licenses, the agency’s share of the federal excise tax collected on the sporting arms and ammunition, and from revenue derived from the 1.5 million-acre state game lands system hunters, trappers and others have helped assemble over the years.
So Hunters and trappers have been subsidizing the tours.
Pennsylvania’s hunter ranks continue to be strong. The Keystone State leads the nation in hunting and furtaker licenses and permits sold.
But it’s been more than 17 years since the state General Assembly last approved an increase in hunting and furtaker license fees. And without an adjustment for inflation, the agency’s revenue stream cannot continue to fund the same services it has, Hough said.
And if I were a hunter, I’d be pissed that my license fees will have to go up because the state needs to provide for Disney Wildlife Tours to tourist instead of them paying for their own entertainment. And I bet that there will be a fair share of those tourist that look down on hunters and feel morally superior because they don’t shoot Bambi.
Maybe the Game Commission should contact The Sierra Club or even PETA and ask for an annual donation…
OK, Stop laughing now.