BY DAVID KVERAGAS
Lest anyone question Pennsylvania's status as having one of the most
benighted populations of hunters, the following facts will confirm its
The Pennsylvania legislature is considering legalizing atlatls for
For those of you not familiar with the term, an atlatl is a grooved
piece of wood with a backstop at one end. It is designed to hold and
launch either a large dart or short spear.
These devices were first used by our prehistoric, cave dwelling
ancestors. Those same ancestors lacked technology such as scope mounted
rifles, which most Fudds fail to utilize with any degree of accuracy, let
alone a spear. Currently only Alabama allows atlatls (and spears).
What’s next? Tiger pits? Driving animals, en masse, off cliffs?
The atlatl vote is scheduled for as early as January.
[Editor’s note: A weird website is
if you want to get an idea of an atlatl.]
A bill to allow Sunday hunting was reintroduced in the state
This is the latest in a long line of such attempts. The new version
would not mandate Sunday hunting, but instead allow the PA Game Commission
(PGC) (which is comprised of hunters) to decide under what conditions such
as management units and seasons, to allow the activity.
Every attempt to expand Sunday hunting (currently Sunday hunting is
allowed for fox, crows and coyotes) has been met with strong opposition by
the public. Even the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has come out against the
proposal. At least one survey of hunters had a majority in opposition
Yet, like the knife wielding character in a cheap horror flick, the
idea keeps coming back to threaten our wildlife further.
There is also a proposal to allow the use of bait for killing, excuse
me, “harvesting” coyotes.
Currently baiting (i.e. food, not scent or noise based) for any species
is strictly forbidden.
(Scent is allowed in Pa. It involves the use of urine from various
animals as well as scents of apples and other foods. The Fudds either
douse themselves in it and or use lures, a rag dipped in the substance and
dragged around to lead to their stand.
Non electronic calls such as grunts, antler rattles and turkey calls
are allowed for deer, geese, ducks and turkeys. Electronic calls such as
recordings of rabbits screaming and crows cawing are allowed for fox,
crows and coyotes.
Foods themselves, such as hay, corn, salt, donuts, and other food
stuffs are strictly prohibited in a hunted area a full thirty days prior
to the area being hunted. Standing or cultivated fields/crops are exempt.
Food based baiting is a common tactic for the state’s bear hunters, but
the PGC turns a blind eye to the practice. Actually there is nothing in
the current game codes specifying the distance from a baited area (which
IS strictly defined) that a Fudd needs to be before “harvesting” any
animal. The distance is at the discretion of the investigating officer. It
could be as little as ten feet or as far as a thousand.
Yet another bill allowing a radical change in the size and carry
requirement for a hunting license unanimously passed the State House, but
has bogged down in committee in the Senate.
Currently Fudds in PA are required to wear their license openly on the
middle of their backs.
The licenses are approximately the size of a large postcard. It
displays their license number as well as signature (often illegible) of
the owner. The new requirement would reduce the size of the license so
that it fits in a pocket or even wallet. The idea being that it will save
money on printing and also secure the license.
Apparently Fudds claim they lose their licenses while afield (I have
yet to meet anyone who has done so). The Fudds claim that by having it in
their wallets, they won’t lose it and can easily show other forms of ID as
well should they be stopped by an officer, landowner or their agent.
The problem with this concept is that we have stopped many Fudds on our
sanctuary and virtually none of them have the second form of ID. They say
they leave their wallets in their vehicle or even at home because they
fear losing it while afield!
On an upbeat note our sanctuary has expanded. It now encompasses over
850 acres, or more than 1.5 sq. miles, including woods, fields, streams
We have a zero tolerance policy for Fudds and already three are
awaiting their dates with the magistrate on trespass charges.
David Kveragas is a former hunter who grew up in a hunting family. He
had a complete change of heart when he moved to his present location and
saw how so many hunters treat landowners as second class citizens, acting
as if they have a right to use the land.
He further saw the wounded animals who were left to suffer, as well as
the bodies that were left to rot because the hunter simply wasn’t
interested in trying to recover them.