Pennsylvania Game Commission

Larry Smith

Pittsburgh-area residents have a story or two about close encounters with deer on the road or in their backyards.

That’s why the Allegheny County Council has posted tips on its website for residents to avoid unwanted run-ins with the local white tail deer population.

As deer season approaches, hunters in Blair and Bedford counties will have to follow Pennsylvania Game Commission regulations intended to halt the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

There are currently three Disease Management Areas (DMAs) in Pennsylvania, two of which are on deer farms in Adams and Jefferson counties. The other, in Blair and Bedford counties, is the biggest concern for the commission because it is in the free-ranging population, said Jeannine Fleegle, wildlife biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Don't Feed the Deer! Here's Why...

Oct 9, 2014
Heather McClain / WESA

While it might be tempting to feed the deer that may wander into your surroundings this fall, the Pennsylvania Game Commission advises against this. We’ll find out why from Dr. Justin Brown, a veterinarian with the state Game Commission.

Gov. Tom Corbett and several high-ranking state lawmakers are demanding that members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission make changes or resign.

The letter they sent Tuesday to Pennsylvania Game Commission President Bob Schlemmer says the agency should rescind an agreement to pay $220,000 to its former executive director, Carl Roe.

It also says William Capouillez shouldn't be named to succeed Roe.

Not only will hunters be tracking deer in Pennsylvania starting today, so too will researchers.

As part of the Deer Forest Study, conducted by the Game Commission with the help of Penn State researchers, 30 deer are wearing GPS radio collars that are controlled using text messages and instantly record the location of the deer.

Researchers can then learn more deer movements and behavior especially during hunting season.

Marvin Moriarty/US Fish and Wildlife Service

The cave-dwelling bat population in Pennsylvania is continuing its free-fall, according to the state Game Commission, which trapped only 10 bats at Long Run Mine earlier this month as part of a population study.

The survey assessed 10 caves across the state and the low returns lead endangered mammal specialists like Greg Turner to believe 98 percent of all cave bats are dead.

Long Run Mine, which runs along of the border of Butler and Armstrong counties, was once the largest bat cave in the state. But Turner said that’s not the case anymore.

White Nose Syndrome Threatens Bat Populations in Pennsylvania

Jul 10, 2013
Marvin Moriarty / United States Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikipedia

Not even Batman can save his fellow bat friends from a deadly disease that has been threatening the bat population across Pennsylvania.  White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by a fungus that, when introduced into underground workings such as caves and mines, begins to eat away at live skins cells of hibernating bats. 

This originally European fungus is cold loving, meaning it prefers very cold, damp underground environments, precisely where non-migratory bats tend to flock for hibernation. When bats hibernate, however, their immune systems completely shut down creating what Endangered Mammal Specialist Greg Turner calls “the perfect storm.”

So-called "canned hunts" of wild hogs aren't coming to an end in Pennsylvania, due to a new state law signed by the governor last month.

You might say state lawmakers came to the rescue of the roughly 20 wild boar hunting preserves in Pennsylvania — they passed a law taking away the state Game Commission's regulatory authority over the animals.

The agency had been trying to establish a statewide prohibition of feral swine, which have been known to rip up wild habitats and farmland and have been difficult to eradicate after they escape fenced-in preserves.

While Pennsylvanians celebrate the Fourth of July this week, they might also want to celebrate the growing population of America’s national symbol — the bald eagle.

According to the Game Commission, there are currently 252 bald eagle nests in the state, 46 more than last year.

“I think it says a lot about the state’s efforts not only to see the number of bald eagles increase as it has, but also to see that population spread out into new areas and follow those watercourses they traditionally inhabited,” said commission spokesman Travis Lau.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission Tuesday affixed special tracking bands to the legs of peregrine falcons that have hatched atop a state office building in Harrisburg.

The agency has been monitoring the offspring of falcons nesting on the building ledge since 2000 as part of an effort to help the recovery of a bird that is on the state’s endangered species list.

Game Commission biologist Art McMorris said the falcon population may improve enough to come off that list in the next decade.

White-Nose Syndrome Wiping Out PA's Bat Population

Apr 15, 2013

Since February 2006 when it was first discovered, White-Nose Syndrome has caused the deaths of 5.7 million to 6.7 million North American bats, many of those in Pennsylvania.

Greg Turner is a wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Diversity Section of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He counts and identifies hibernating bats and conducts migratory telemetry on our federally endangered Indiana bats.

When searching the abandoned Durham Mine in Bucks County, he found just 23 were alive and over 10,000 bats were dead.

The state Game Commission is still working to determine how it will respond to an apparent outbreak of chronic wasting disease among Pennsylvania’s wild deer population.

The brain illness, fatal to deer but not harmful to humans, has been detected in the wild in Pennsylvania. It’s the first time the disease has been found in the commonwealth’s wild deer population in 15 years of testing.