Elk License Application Fees Benefit Habitat
Those considering submitting an application for one of the 100 elk licenses being made available by the Pennsylvania Game Commission for this fall are reminded that the $10 fee from the first 10,000 applications received will go toward a special partnership project to improve habitat in the elk range.
On Oct. 26, 2001, the Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced their agencies would dedicate up to $600,000 over three years to fund habitat improvements for elk and other wildlife throughout the elk range in northcentral Pennsylvania. The two agencies also called upon sportsmen's groups, conservation organizations, businesses and individuals to match the state's funding commitment, to generate a combined investment of $1.2 million over three years.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has agreed to spearhead efforts to raise additional funding from other contributors, which the state agencies would then match. Dave Messics, Northeast Regional Vice President for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, noted other organizations supporting the challenge are: Dominion Resources; Sinnamahoning Sportsmen's Club; Safari Club International, Lehigh Valley Chapter; Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited; the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation; the Homewood Hunting Club; and the Happy Hunters Hunt Club.
Ross noted that the Game Commission's $300,000 pledge would be generated from the first 10,000 applications received for the elk license drawing for the elk hunts in 2001, 2002 and 2003. In order to be eligible for the public drawing for an elk license, individuals must submit an application and a $10 nonrefundable application fee to the Game Commission.
The habitat improvements are intended to direct and hold elk to specific corridors and public areas within the 835-square-mile elk range; reduce impacts to private property and elk-related conflicts; and enhance regional viability of elk watching and related outdoor tourism.
The improvements will be concentrated in Sproul, Moshannon and Elk state forests, and on a number of state game lands in portions of Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk and Potter counties. DCNR and Game Commission foresters and biologists, as well as Game Commission land managers and food and cover crews, will use areas of the forest already cleared through timbering, mining or for utility right-of-way, to plant grasses and leguminous cover desired by elk and other wildlife.
The Game Commission and DCNR have created a seven-year elk-habitat improvement plan that has identified areas on public lands suitable for elk-habitat improvement. DCNR and Game Commission foresters and biologists, as well as Game Commission land managers and food and cover crews, have identified about 80 potential sites that could be developed as wildlife food plots. The goal is to more than double the 1,100 acres currently managed as herbaceous openings.