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The Sportsman's Corner: Unified Sportsmen All In


February 7, 2019

Not long ago, I wrote that the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania (USP), the only statewide sportsmen's organization that has battled against the Pennsylvania Game Commission's fatally flawed deer mismanagement program, was supporting research on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) by Dr. Frank Bastian of Louisiana State University.

Shortly after my column appeared, I received an email and then a letter from Phil Wagner, the President of the USP. Though he appreciated what I had written in the column, he noted that the USP had really gone "all in" in support of Dr. Bastian.

Wagner noted that USP donated $8000 last year to support Bastian's research and is pledging another $10,000 this year. He also noted that the USP is committed to raising another $100,000 per year for the next three years to support Bastian and his colleagues' research to eradicate CWD. "We have already raised $33,000 this year and have only just begun," Wagner noted.

In addition, Wagner wrote that the USP had reserved the main Rotunda at the State Capitol on Feb. 4 for a press conference before the state legislators and the media. This press conference stressed the importance of the research that is being done by Bastian and his colleagues. For more information about how you can support the USP's efforts to support Dr. Bastian can be found at or Dr. Bastian and his team's research may well be the best chance there is to finally get a handle on chronic wasting disease.

On another note: The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) is working to simplify its regulations about wearing fluorescent orange during various hunting seasons. However, at the PGC's work session on Dec. 17, one of the board members made a telling statement during a sidebar conversation that he did not realize was being picked up by a microphone. According to Jeff Mulhollem, the editor of "Pennsylvania Outdoor News" writing in the Jan. 4, 2019, edition, the commissioner stated that he doesn't wear any orange when hunting turkeys during the autumn and he's not going to, no matter what the rules are or become. Mulhollem declined to name the commissioner in order to avoid embarrassing him – or even worse.

I imagine wild turkey hunters who heard the commissioner's comment were both amused and upset that a commissioner would say this. Fall turkey hunters have to be creative in obeying the orange law as it is now enforced. To hear a commissioner say what this one did emphasizes what fall turkey hunters have long known: Orange is detrimental to their success.


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