RAY SWANSON | Keystoner Elk hunt has opponents

There are a lot of pros and cons out there floating around on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's approval of a six-day elk hunt scheduled for Nov. 12-17.
If my memory is correct, it has not been too many years since the prized elk herd was on the endangered list. True, the Pennsylvania elk herd has grown through the years, but to the extent to have an elk hunt?
Fifteen bull and 15 cow tags will be issued.
I've heard some people say they hope to get a tag and not use it in order for one elk not to be killed. And ladies and gentlemen, those are words coming from hunters.
Crop destruction: I understand there are some problems created by the elk herd; however, there are solutions. Farmers contend that the elk are destroying their crops and some are asking for permission to bring an end to this destruction by shooting the animals.
If you have traveled to Benezette, you can witness the elk wandering about. Motorists stop along the highways to witness the huge animals grazing along the roadways and to get a few prized pictures to take back and show their friends.
Some even say that the animals will actually eat from your hand. Many of the elk are not fearful of people, but that could all change in November.
Hunting is a sport, so they say. But what kind of sport is it, that permits a hunter to walk up to an elk and end its life? Maybe it would be like that old saying, "like shooting ducks in a barrel."
There are thousands of acres of woodlands in Pennsylvania, many of which could support elk habitat. So why could these elk not be moved to these areas? That would be one solution, and a feasible one.
Elk, in the state, have not been hunted for more than 70 years. Why start now?
Another goof: Seems there has been another foul up, and this one, believe it or not, was created by the state Fish and Boat Commission.
It seems that a state-run hatchery, maintained by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, has fouled up Big Spring Creek, which is a 5-mile tributary to the Susquehanna River. The creek has been oversilted and laden with excrement from the Big Spring Hatchery located in Newville, Pa.
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told the commission to get things right before July 1 or a temporary shutdown of the facility could take place.
About 725,000 adult trout were raised for stocking in state streams this year. The fish excrement has apparently depleted oxygen and fouled the water in Big Spring Creek.
The creek had previously been categorized by the state as an "exceptional value stream."
The DEP has given the Fish and Boat Commission a short period of time to come up with a plan to reduce the discharges.
All-star honors: Five Westminster College student-athletes have earned 2001 ECAC Division II South All-Star honors for baseball and softball.
Senior Kurt Latta (Wilmington High School) and sophomore Kevin Humberston (East Allegheny) earned Second Team honors in baseball at designated hitter and third base, respectively.
For softball, three Titans also earned Second Team honors: senior Bethany Pinkerton (Beaver Falls) at pitcher; junior Katie Horgan (Taylor Allderdice) in the outfield; and sophomore Julie Pervis (Seneca Valley) at shortstop.
Latta batted .288 and had two homers; Huberston led the Titans in hitting with a .403 average and two homers; Pinkerton was 16-5 and had a team high 172 strikeouts; Horgan batted .315, two homers and four triples; and Purvis led the Titans in hitting with a .305 average with four triples and two homers.

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