Outdoors: Pennsylvania Game Commission

For more than 100 years, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has managed the commonwealth’s wildlife resources for all Pennsylvanians. But how much do you really know about the commission’s history and its mission?

I asked Executive Director Bryan Burhans for his perspective.

“The wildlife is the property of all of the citizens of Pennsylvania and we as an agency are entrusted with managing all those species on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania to use the best science. Now, back in 1895, we really didn’t even have wildlife size to manage our wildlife population. We really focused on law enforcement because that’s what we had,” Burhans said. “In the 30s, 40s and 50s, we used the sciences of wildlife management and we continue to use that today to manage the state’s wildlife populations.”

“Our challenges as a state wildlife agency are greater now more than ever. When you think about it, there 13 million citizens in Pennsylvania that we are responsible for managing wildlife for. That means we have 13 million people who have different ideas ”

Pennsylvania is rather unique among states in that we enjoy a separate and independent commission which receives no state funding to operate.

“We have three main revenue sources and none of them come from the general fund or tax dollars from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Burhans said. “They come from the sale of hunting and trapping license, natural resource extraction, and federal grants through the Fish and Wildlife Service called the PR grants.”

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