Two Game Farm tours cancelled and up to 40,000 pheasants lost or escaped due to flooding; Tours cancelled for State Game Lands in Bradford and Dauphin/Lebanon counties
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced the agency has rescheduled its public drawing to award 56 elk licenses for the 2011 elk hunt for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the agency's Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81. The rescheduling was the result of state office closings last week forced by flooding in the Harrisburg region.
Roe said the public drawing will be webcast beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14. To view the drawing, a "Live Elk Drawing" icon will be posted on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) for individuals to click on and watch the drawing. In order to watch the live feed, you will need to have Flash Player installed on your computer. If you do not have Flash Player installed on your computer, please go to this link: http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/. Once Flash Player has been installed, you can watch the drawing.
Roe said the same flooding that devastated property and adversely affected the lives of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians also impacted Game Commission properties and resources, including two Game Farms in Lycoming County, which caused the loss of thousands of ring-necked pheasants. The agency also has cancelled the public tours of the two Lycoming County game farms – the Loyalsock and Northcentral game farms – originally scheduled for Sept. 25.
"We are beginning the assessment process, but it appears that 30,000 to 40,000 pheasants that had been raised and were ready for release for this fall's hunting have perished or escaped," said Bob Boyd, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management assistant director, who oversees operations of the agency's four Game Farms. "We are doing all that we can to recapture escaped birds still in the area, but losses may total up to 40 percent of the total pheasant production planned for this year and has compelled us to re-evaluate fall pheasant stocking plans. The disruption will delay the announcement of how many pheasants will be stocked in each county. Not only were birds lost, but both farms received major damage to holding fields and buildings, which may jeopardize plans to double production levels next year.
"It is too late in the production season to raise more pheasants or to purchase pheasants from private propagators to replace these losses."
Boyd noted that the other two tours scheduled for the Western Game Farm in Crawford County and the Southwest Game Farm in Armstrong County will continue on Sunday, Oct. 2, as planned and announced. (For more information on the two tours that will continue as planned, please refer to News Release #094-11, which was issued on Sept. 1.)
In Bradford County, the public tour scheduled for State Game Lands 12 and 36 also was cancelled due to flood damage to the tour route.
"Roadways on SGLs 12 and 36 in Bradford County are impassable and several bridges are literally gone," said Pete Sussenbach, Game Commission Northeast Region Land Management supervisor. "While assessments continue, we expect the damage to be in the millions."
In the Southeast Region, the public tour scheduled for State Game Land 211 in Dauphin and Lebanon counties has been cancelled due to flooding that has impacted numerous areas of the old railroad grade used as part of this popular tour route.
"At this point, we are unable to access some areas of SGL 211, particularly the Rausch Gap area, to make a full assessment of impacts," said Bruce Metz, Game Commission Southeast Region Land Management supervisor. "We know a lot of people enjoy this annual tour, but we, unfortunately, must cancel this year as several areas are washed out, and we are unable to make the necessary repairs at this time."
Metz also noted that routes normally opened two weeks prior to the archery seasons for those disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind on SGL 110 in Berks County and SGL 210 in northern Dauphin County, are not open yet.
"Again, due to wash outs and extremely wet conditions, we are unable to open these routes at this time," Metz said. "We hope to be able to repair these routes in the near future, and plan to issue a news release when they are opened for disabled hunters who have a permit to use a vehicle as a blind."
Roe noted that more information will be released on the flood damages to Game Commission assets, properties and resources as assessments are finalized and compiled.
Note to Editors: If you would like to receive Game Commission news releases via e-mail, please send a note with your name, address, telephone number and the name of the organization you represent to: PGCNews@pa.gov
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission