Former state deer management expert says he left position out of frustration
Gary Alt says he couldn't take the PGC anymore.
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) -- Gary Alt, who recently left his job as supervisor of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management section, said he left because of his frustration with a "broken system."
Alt's departure Friday at age 53 was described as a retirement, but Alt said he was leaving because a core group of well-organized hunters was limiting his ability to manage deer.
"I always said I would leave if I became ineffective, and I became ineffective. I did not want to take money from any employer if I couldn't deliver the services," Alt told The Tribune of Scranton.
In the job he started in 1999, Alt wrote measures designed to increase the number of large bucks and harvest more doe. His policies angered hunters because they lowered the overall deer population to maintain the habitat.
Alt maintains that the state's deer herd has been too large for more than 80 years, reducing plant diversity and the land's ability to sustain wildlife.
"It makes no more sense to let the deer herd go out of control than it does to allow pollutants to go into a stream," he said.
Alt said a major problem is that the Game Commission is funded almost entirely by fees on hunters.
"That agency won't be able to function properly when the hunters are funding it entirely," Alt said. "Only after you get broader-based funding will you get broader-based representation."
Game Commissioner Stephen Mohr said he receives about 50 complaints a day from hunters about the size of the deer herd.
"I think they'll either be repealed voluntarily or they'll be repealed forcibly," said Mohr, who supports antler restrictions, but not Alt's other regulations.
Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser said the agency won't know what direction it will take for this year's hunting season until commissioners meet from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25 to set preliminary bag limits and dates for deer season. The final decisions will be set when the board meets in April.
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