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Game Commission Invites Residents to 7 Open Houses on Deer Management

In an effort to explain the state's Deer Management Program and meet interested residents closer to home, the Game Commission is hitting the road in coming weeks to hold seven open houses across the state.

"Open houses provide a means for the agency to reach out and interact with hunters and other Pennsylvanians whose lives are influenced by deer," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "They have been used by the agency in the past and have been warmly received by residents who attend them.

"With deer seasons just around the corner, the timing is right to hold these open houses to provide the general public a convenient way to review our deer management program, which will be updated this year, and to gather public input on additional goals we're considering."

The open houses will feature a number of “information stations” in a large room where Game Commission staff will answer questions on specific topics related to its deer management program, like each of the program measures – deer herd health, forest habitat health and more. It is designed to provde the public with more “one-on-one” time with individuals to help answer their questions. In addition, there will be a PowerPoint presentation available for viewing that provides an overview of the whole program.

There are no set times for presentations or for hearing comments.

In the 2003-07 Deer Management Plan, three goals, all identified and supported by Pennsylvanians, were established to guide the program. They were to: improve deer health, improve forest health and reduce deer-human conflicts.

Now, the agency is considering two additional goals, and is seeking public input on them at the upcoming open houses. Those additional goals are to manage deer to provide recreational opportunities; and to improve the public's knowledge and understanding of deer and the deer management program.

Roe noted that the open houses will be held in seven different locations, with six of the open houses set for a Sunday and Monday format to maximize the opportunity for those interested in attending.

The scheduled days and hours for six of the open houses are Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Mondays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The seventh open house, which is slated for the State Capitol, will be for one day only, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The schedule for the open houses is as follows:

· Southeast Region: September 9 and 10, at Berrier Hall at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, Lehigh County. Directions: From Route 22 in Allentown, travel north on Route 309 for 5.3 miles. At traffic light past the main entrance of LCCC, turn left onto Orchard Road and Berrier Hall is on the right about one-half mile.

· Northeast Region: September 16 and 17, at Lehman Volunteer Fire Company Hall, Dallas, Luzerne County. Directions: From Interstate 81, take Exit 170 to Route 309 North to Dallas. At Dallas Shopping Center, stay straight onto Route 415 North and travel about 3.5 miles to the intersection of Route 118. Turn left onto Route 118 West; travel 2.5 miles and turn right onto Lehman Outlet Road. Go 50 yards to the stop sign, and turn right again onto Firehouse Road. The Lehman Volunteer Fire Hall building is the second building on the right.

· State Capitol: This event is set for September 18, and will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the East Wing Rotunda, just off Commonwealth Avenue, between North and Walnut streets, Harrisburg, Dauphin County.

· Southwest Region: September 30 and October 1, at the Youngwood Volunteer Hose Co. #1 Building, Youngwood, which is along U.S. Route 119 between Greensburg and New Stanton, in Westmoreland County. Directions: The facility is at the intersection of Chestnut and Second streets in Youngwood.

· Southcentral Region: October 14 and 15, at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona. Directions: The facility is at 1 Convention Center Drive, Altoona, PA 16602. Take I-99 North to Altoona, and get off at the Plank Road Exit. Turn south onto Plank Road, and proceed for about one-half mile and turn left onto Convention Center Boulevard. At the first stoplight, make a left onto Convention Center Drive.

· Northwest Region: October 21 and 22, at the Rocky Grove Fire Hall, 29 Wood Street, Franklin, Venango County. Directions: Take Route 417 North from Franklin, make right at blinking light; fire hall is on the left.

· Northcentral Region: October 28 and 29, at the Little League Recreation Room at Little League Headquarters, South Williamsport, Lycoming County. Directions: The facility is along U.S. Route 15, just 18 miles north of I-80. Traveling on Route 220 at the Market Street Bridge in Williamsport, take U.S. 15 South into South Williamsport, travel about two miles, and the recreation room is on the left.

The open houses and the outreach information they will provide to the public were developed by a Deer Communications Working Group that was proposed by the Deer Management Section and created by Roe in late April.

"This group has worked hard to identify Pennsylvania's and the Game Commission's deer management educational and outreach needs, and develop the displays, brochures, workshops and website information, that will help deliver that important message to the public and fellow employees," Roe said. "We encourage Pennsylvanians to take time to visit one of these open houses."

The Game Commission recognizes that the public's comprehension of deer management and changes to the agency's deer program is essential to manage deer progressively and effectively. While this outreach/educational effort targets all Pennsylvanians, there is considerable focus on hunting, primarily because hunters have helped the agency manage Pennsylvania's deer population for more than 100 years.

"Hunters have partnered with the Game Commission to manage wildlife since the agency's inception," Roe said. "Their financial contributions help support Pennsylvania's wildlife management programs and their efforts afield have helped to keep our deer populations in check. Hunters matter a great deal to the Game Commission and Pennsylvania."

For more information, visit the agency's Deer Management Program webpage.

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The Senate and House return to session on September 17. The House is in non-voting session September 10 and 11.

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