Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Elk Biologist Appointed-Special Elk License Gains House Approval

Jeremy Banefield, Elk Project Leader: Photo Courtesy PA Game Commission
The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced on May 17, 2013, in News Release 035-13, that Rochester, N.Y. native, Jeremy Banefield has been appointed to the position of elk project leader.   Although it does not specifically say so, he is was likely hired to fill the position formerly held by the late Jon DeBerti.

Below is the Release in its' entirety:

May 17, 2013

Release #035-13

Jeremy Banfield previously worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Game Commission has hired a new wildlife biologist to serve as its elk project leader. Jeremy Banfield began his work for the commission this week.

A native of the Rochester, N.Y.-area, Banfield comes to the Game Commission after working most recently as a wildlife biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Banfield received his bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife management from Michigan State University and received his master’s of science in ecology from the University of Alberta.

While working toward his master’s degree, Banfield’s studies focused on mountain lion foraging and prey selection, with an emphasis on impacts to elk populations.

Banfield has experience capturing and radio-tracking elk and other wildlife, investigating and resolving crop-damage issues, conducting wildlife surveys and research studies, running check stations and providing public presentations on his work.

Banfield also is a four-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, where he worked as a machinery technician with and supervised a boat engineering and maintenance group.

Banfield, his wife and his 2-year-old son have taken up residence in DuBois. In his new role, Banfield said he wants to continue Pennsylvania’s legacy of effective elk management in the state’s northcentral region. “I look forward to meeting and talking with the residents of and visitors to the area comprising Pennsylvania’s elk range, and working to ensure the continued success of the state’s elk,” Banfield said.

To read other important News Releases visit the PGC Website and look for News Releases under Quick Clicks

Elk License Opportunities

According to information received from Paul Staniszewski, The House has unanimously passed House Bill 577.  This is legislation that if approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, would guarantee at least one resident of the Elk Management Area receives an opportunity to purchase an elk hunting license each year. The bill provides for a raffle open only to residents of the elk management area, with the prize being the opportunity to purchase one elk license. According to the text of the bill the drawing would be for an antlered elk license in even-numbered years and an antleress license in odd-numbered years.

Foggy Morning Bull
 This appears to be another "feel good" measure that is a sure fire win for the politicians, but in truth accomplishes little if anything.  It seems some, if not many residents of the elk range, do resent the fact that they put up with the tourists and hunters and endure property and crop damage from elk, yet seldom does an elk tag go to someone who has to put up with the problems.

While the bill may appear to rectify this to a certain extent, one needs only to consider that most people live in the more developed areas of the range, so it seems likely that most who would enter a raffle for one of these licenses, would be from one of the  towns or a more heavily developed areas in the elk range. Someone who actually owns the properties where the damage and conflicts occur would still have an extremely small chance of getting a license.

In reality this  appears to be nothing more than another aspect of the current trends of  more seasons, special seasons, longer seasons, higher bag limits, more days of the week to hunt, etc.  It is all about increased "Hunting Opportunity" and not about what is best for wildlife.

To read the full text of the bill and for other information Click Here.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.