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HARRISBURG, PA - The Pennsylvania Game Commission has been named the Quality Deer Management Association’s Agency of the Year.

Recognition was announced at QDMA’s 2018 National Convention held in New Orleans from July 19 to 22, then acknowledged at today’s Board of Game Commissioners meeting in Harrisburg.

“A comparison to other states clearly shows how successful Pennsylvania’s deer management program is,” said Kip Adams, QDMA director of conservation. “The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer management plan and research program are based on science and public input and have consistently received high approval from the public and hunters in surveys.”

In presenting the award, Adams referred to statistics from QDMA’s own 2018 Whitetail Report, an annual checkup of the status of whitetails and deer hunting in North America.

He highlighted the following:

  • Pennsylvania is one of only five states in the U.S. to harvest more than 300,000 whitetails annually.
  • In 2016 (the most recent season for which data from all whitetail states is available), hunters in Pennsylvania harvested 3.3 antlered deer per square mile, the second-highest buck harvest rate in the nation that year. Michigan came in first with 3.5 antlered deer harvested per square mile.
  • The 2016 season was the eighth year in a row that at least half of Pennsylvania’s antlered deer harvest was 2½ years or older.
  • Hunters in Pennsylvania in 2016 also harvested more than four antlerless deer per square mile, the third-highest antlerless harvest rate in the nation.

“Game Commission personnel annually collect harvest data from more than 25,000 deer, and biologists then develop management recommendations using scientific data and a defined and transparent process,” said Adams. “The strengths of the Game Commission’s deer management plan and research program have been recognized in numerous ways, including a recent peer-reviewed article in which the agency’s plan tied with three other species management plans for the top spot out of 667 plans reviewed from throughout North America.”

A study by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation found the Pennsylvania Game Commission has one of the most progressive deer management programs in the country. Pennsylvania is one of a few states that has a written deer management plan, sets quantitative goals, includes a goal related to habitat health, and uses actual measures of vegetation data to inform deer management decisions.

“With so many deserving wildlife agencies to choose from, it’s a real honor to be selected as the QDMA’s Agency of the Year,” said Ian Gregg, chief of the Game Commission’s Game Management Division, and who accepted the award on behalf of the agency. “I’m especially proud of deer biologists Chris Rosenberry, Jeannine Tardiff Fleegle and Bret Wallingford, but the agency’s deer management program is truly an agency-wide team effort,” he added.

Agency Executive Director Bryan Burhans was quick to point out, though, that cooperation and outreach also are big reasons why Pennsylvania’s deer program is what it is today.

“It isn’t easy to sell progressive deer management,” Burhans emphasized. “Pennsylvania is where it is today because so many of our deer hunters understand and support what’s going on here. That happened through at least a solid decade of outreach in the form of website offerings, open houses, public meetings, brochures, news releases and good old-fashioned one-on-one discussions between hunters and staff.”

“Pennsylvania likely has never been better poised to manage whitetails than it is today. That won’t necessarily make it easier in the future, but it puts us in a better position to get the job done.”

Since 1988, QDMA, headquartered in Bogart, Ga., has worked to promote sustainable, high-quality deer populations, wildlife habitats and ethical hunting experiences through research, education, advocacy and hunter recruitment. QDMA teaches deer hunters how to improve local deer populations, habitat and hunting experiences.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob D'Angelo - 717-787-4250 ext. 3311

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