BHA opposes mandated seats for special interests on Pennsylvania Game Commission

Pennsylvania BHA leaders and members - and all of our conservation organization allies - were hopeful earlier this year when there was not one, but two bills, one each in the Senate and House, that would finally do away with the ridiculous prohibition on Sunday hunting in the Keystone state.

We have watched with dismay as the Sunday hunting bill in the senate has been sullied with an unnecessary and dangerous addition that would alter the makeup of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners requiring a “10th seat” on the PGC board to represent the agriculture industry.  In the house a separate bill would mandate at least one commission member be engaged in the business of agriculture as defined by state statutes.

We have shared our opposition to these measures, and our reasons for it, with legislators, as have many of our conservation partner organizations and many others.

BHA has no qualm with organic representation from the agricultural community on the game commission board. In fact, we encourage it. We currently have several commissioners who are farmers.

BHA opposes mandated agricultural seats or background requirements on our state Game Commission because we oppose assigned seats for any industry or special interest on the board of commissioners. Establishment of such a seat would set a precedent. It would open a door for others. Particularly those who do not understand, support or may even oppose conservation, hunting and fishing.

A similar situation recently arose in Kentucky, where a bill would have placed the entire agency under the Department of Agriculture. Fortunately, this move was defeated due to the efforts of Kentucky BHA and other like-minded organizations. You can read about it HERE. Kansas BHA fought a similar measure this year, as well.

Most alarmingly, the creation of the 10th seat invites in anti-hunting organizations that want to infiltrate and change our wildlife management system to deprioritize or even abolish hunting as a wildlife management tool. This is not a far-fetched idea or irrational fear. It is a clear and present danger.

Recent legislative attacks on wildlife agencies to derail the North American Model of Wildlife Management and science-based management are commonplace. Look at groups like Wildlife for All, whose mission is to reform wildlife management to a more “compassionate” and democratic system. They and their counterparts have made inroads or launched attacks in Washington, Colorado and Vermont to name a few. One of their primary tactics is to use rules to marginalize hunters and trappers on game commissions and then replace them with anti-hunters.

Even with almost a million in our ranks, hunters represent the minority of Pennsylvania’s 13 million or so residents. The voice of anti-hunting groups could easily overtake us, as has happened in Washington State. In Vermont, legislation was just defeated by BHA and others that would have required non-hunters hold seats on the state wildlife commission.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers opposes all legislation that creates special interest game commission board seats, corrupts the commissioner selection process or otherwise dilutes game commission board leadership.

Our current board of game commissioners represents all Pennsylvanians and the 480 wildlife species managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. We’d like to keep it that way and we ask for your support to help us preserve the integrity of the PGC.


Board of Directors

Pennsylvania Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers


Read more about commission attacks and their effects in other states at these links:






About Pennsylvania BHA

The Pennsylvania Chapter of BHA represents a diverse and enthusiastic group of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen who seek to protect and improve wild places in the Keystone State and beyond.

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