Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 6

sacrifice of passing up smaller-racked
bucks and having fewer antlerless deer
came with the potential for a population
of older bucks. From the 1970s through
the '90s, only about 20 percent of the
buck harvest comprised bucks 2½ years
old or older.
To reinforce his explanation for antler
restrictions, Alt developed a roadshow
that came to sportsmen's clubs and legislative gatherings to explain why older
bucks were better for the breeding ecology of the herd, and why fewer antlerless
deer ensured better habitat for all deer,
but especially for young bucks growing
antlers. Alt marshalled his every waking
minute to make appearances in almost
every county of the state. And he sold the
agency's deer management program at
every stop.
" The most exciting days of my life
were on the campaign trail, trying to
sell deer management in front of very
large crowds and large numbers of angry
people, and then seeing at the end of an
hour, that you could win them over, " Alt
recalled.
Alt was effective at getting his message across. And in those gatherings, he
never lost a crowd. But Alt couldn't win
over those who never wanted to shoot
antlerless deer. That faction continued to
challenge him and his program.
Concurrent deer hunting quickly led to
historic deer harvests. From 2000 to 2004,
about 2.4 million deer were taken by hunters in Penn's Woods. It soon became a
pace some hunters felt was too much too
fast. And they became more vocal about
their concerns.
Alt eventually found himself facing
eroding support, both within the agency
and among the public, to reduce the deer
herd. In response, he resigned.
Twenty-seven years with the Game
6

Commission. One of North America's
preeminent black bear biologists. Yet he
walked away. He knew before starting as
a deer biologist that social pressures had
trumped sound science in deer management before. So, the heat he was feeling
was kind of expected. But hunters - even
some agency officials - weren't ready for
the unprecedented harvests that followed,
and that never have been equaled.
Alt knew he had hit a dead-end.
Interestingly, in recent Pennsylvania
deer hunter surveys, at least 50 percent
of respondents said they'd like to return to
concurrent deer hunting. So, the approach
wasn't a problem for all deer hunters.
And hunters have shown clear support
for antler restrictions, with two-thirds of
those polled in the most-recent survey
expressing their satisfaction with existing
requirements.

LASTING LEGACY
In spite of what followed, it's important
to note that Alt did successfully prove how
to take more deer through hunting when
it needs to happen. If the Game Commission ever needed to go in that direction, the path was clear. Some Wildlife
Management Units, in fact, returned to
concurrent deer hunting this year to help
combat the advance of chronic wasting
disease (CWD).
But Alt revolutionized Pennsylvania
deer hunting in other ways, as well. Since
the agency's creation, deer hunting has
never been as electrifying as it has been
in the past decade, when there have been
more 2½-year-old bucks in the harvest
than yearling bucks.
Older bucks now make up about 60
percent of the buck harvest - not 20 percent. That change has helped make Pennsylvania a whitetail hunting destination,
and many other states have since followed



Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 41
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 43
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 61
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Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - December 2020 - Cover4
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