The Pennsylvania elk herd has benefited greatly from a considerable amount of habitat improvement work in the Elk Range. Much of it has been financed by donations from organization such as the RMEF, NWTF, as well as private donations. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been very active in this work as well as the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
As the agency responsible for managing all of Pennsylvania’s wildlife, the PGC has invested considerably in the biological research of our elk herd. Numerous animals are fitted with numbered collars, radio tracking collars, and ear tags. Biologist, Jon DeBerti, is assigned full time to this most important work as was R. Cogan before him.
The work of the PGC has taken place at a time when the agency is cash strapped by the lack of a hunting license increase in ten years. Hundreds of acres of abandoned strip mines have been reclaimed and converted into first grade elk range with areas of cover interspersed with herbaceous opening. The habitat improvement work allows the range to now support more wildlife than it did previously while helping to keep the elk away from agricultural areas. As anyone reading this well knows the cost of labor, equipment, fuel and salaries has raised considerable during this time but the PGC’s major source of funding has not.
The revenue from the elk license application fees and the license fees are the only monies the PGC derives directly from the elk herd. Tourism, while contributing more to the region’s economy than the elk hunt, contributes nothing to the PGC, an inequity that should be addressed.