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Game and Fisheries Committee OKs Merger Study, Causer Says

HARRISBURG – The House Game and Fisheries Committee today unanimously approved a resolution calling for a study of the impacts of merging the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), chairman of the committee and prime sponsor of the legislation. 

The resolution now goes to the full House for consideration. 

“Hunting and fishing are an important part of our heritage, and we need to look at all of the options available to help preserve these activities for generations to come,” Causer said. “The study will give us the good, solid information we need to make the best decisions for the Commonwealth’s hunters and anglers.” 

Watch Rep. Causer’s comments on passage of the resolution: 

House Resolution 129 calls on the non-partisan Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to study the financial feasibility, impact, costs and savings that may be realized by combining the agencies. It also calls on the LBFC to explore a range of options with regard to how to structure the state’s wildlife agency to best manage the wildlife and aquatic resources of the Commonwealth.  

A similar study was conducted 10 years ago, and it showed a merger was feasible and would save money. No legislative action resulted from the study’s findings, however. 

“Given the economic challenges facing both commissions today, I think it is time to revisit the issue,” Causer said.  

Last month, the executive directors of both commissions appeared before the House Game and Fisheries Committee to present their annual reports. While a number of issues were covered in both presentations, financial concerns were a significant point of discussion from both agencies. 

If the resolution earns final approval in the full House, the study is expected to take about six months.  

The committee also approved the following bills at today’s meeting: 

  • House Bill 451 (Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana) allows the use of leashed tracking dogs to track and recover legally wounded or harvested white-tail deer and black bear.
  • House Bill 577 (Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Cambria) ensures that at least one resident of the Elk Management Area receives an opportunity to purchase an elk hunting license each year.
  • House Bill 723 (Rep. Matt Baker, R-Bradford/Tioga) clarifies that wild boars and other swine kept behind fences on game farms or hunting preserves are not defined as “wild animals” under the Game Code and not under the regulatory purview of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Representative Martin T. Causer
67th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Patricia A. Hippler
717.772.9846 /
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