The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 26, 2012

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Game Commission deserves tip of the hat

— The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners deserves a tip-of-the-hat for doing the right things.

At their meeting earlier this week, they took action that will certainly pay dividends for years to come.

For example, they gave preliminary approval to expand antlerless deer hunting opportunities under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program during next year’s hunting season.

According to the commission’s president, Ralph A. Martone, “Sportsmen’s groups support the idea of allowing the transfer of one Deer Management Assistance Program permit to a mentored youth hunter. This change, along with the recent addition of fall turkey hunting for mentored youth, will provide a wide range of opportunities for young hunters.”

This is a win-win for the future of our sport and for farmers who have to contend with deer damage.

The board of commissioners also gave approval to amend the list of endangered and threatened species in our state to reflect current bird and animal populations. When a species is placed on this list it simply means that it is in trouble and deserving of protection. The species added to the list were: the Upland Sandpiper, The Northern Harrier, and the Long-eared Owl. Additionally, the commission made corrections to the common naming for different species of warblers.

The commission is also seeking public input on proposed language and changes to the list of endangered and threatened species of bats. While no action was taken at this meeting, it is important for knowledgeable folks to engage with the Game Commission as they try to respond to scourge of white nose syndrome on our local bat populations.

Lastly, the commission took action that will allow Wildlife Conservation Officers to enforce the law against the few “bad apples” who abuse critical habitat with their all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles.

Martz’s deserves tip-of-the-hat

Martz’s Gap Hunting Preserve is just a great place to spend a day. The good folks who run this fine establishment are showing their true colors by giving a 50 percent discount on Oct. 6 for parties that include youth hunters.

They will offer the same deal again on Oct. 13 for hunting parties that include military veterans or hunters who are 65 years old or older.

Martz’s Preserve is located near Damatia and you can get more information by logging onto or by calling 800-326-8442.

Weekend in the west end

The portion of Union County roughly west of Mifflinburg is known by many people as The West End. This part of the county includes some delightful ridges and valleys along some high-quality streams.

Some will tell you that the people in this part of the county are bit more roughhewn than those who inhabit the eastern end of the county.

In a word, it’s a fine place to spend the weekend (or longer).

If you’re not lucky enough to have a cabin in the west end you should consider booking the apartment at the Union County Sportsmen’s Club near Weikert. You just need to give Lori a call at 570-922-1128. She can also tell about the pavilion that’s available to rent at the club. This pavilion is perfect for reunions, weddings or parties. With 25 tables, a complete kitchen and plenty of counters this may be the ideal setting for your group.

Time to go hunting

Bow season opens statewide this Saturday and the youth squirrel, pheasant and cottontail seasons open next Saturday, Oct. 6.

Just a reminder, the Buffalo Valley Sportsmen are sponsoring a Hunter Safety Course tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday.