Jan. 1st Marks Entrance into Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact for Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe announced that, on Jan. 1, Pennsylvania officially will become the 36th member state of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, under which the worst of convicted wildlife violators will stand to lose their hunting privileges in all states enrolled in the Compact.

"The coming New Year will bring a whole new penalty for those who are convicted of some of the worst violations of our state's hunting laws," Roe said. "Pennsylvania will band together with 35 other states in a united front against convicted poachers, who steal from all citizens, most especially, law-abiding hunters.

"Now, that we are an official member of the Compact, someone who loses his or her hunting license privileges in Pennsylvania for certain poaching offenses, on or after Jan. 1, will lose those hunting license privileges in all states that are members of the compact.  By the same token, those who lose their hunting privileges in other Compact member states, on or after Jan. 1, will no longer be able to come to Pennsylvania and lawfully hunt."

Under the new law, the Game Commission must report to other Compact states those convicted of the following offenses under Title 34 (Game and Wildlife Code): hunting or furtaking while on revocation; unlawful use of lights to take wildlife; buying and selling game; hunting or furtaking under the influence; shooting at or causing injury to a human; counterfeit, alter or forge a license or tag; threatened or endangered species violations; assault/interference or bodily injury to a wildlife conservation officer; illegal taking or possession of big game in closed season; and accumulated wildlife violations for which the penalty provided by Title 34 is no less than a summary offense of the fourth degree and the violation is not the only violation in a 24-month period.

The law also requires that the Pennsylvania Game Commission only recognize the revocation of an individual’s hunting privileges in other Compact states for offenses that have the same elements of the offenses listed above.

On average, about 1,000 individuals are added to Pennsylvania's revocation list for hunting and trapping license privileges annually. Of that, only about 25 percent would be submitted to the Compact.>

"Coupled with the recent increase in fines and penalties for certain poaching offenses, Pennsylvania has finally slammed shut the door previously left open to convicted poachers who would willingly go from state to state and flaunt laws and regulations designed to conserve wildlife resources for current and future generations," Roe said. "It is important to note that these efforts could not have been possible without the overwhelming support from the majority of law-abiding hunters and trappers in Pennsylvania, who have long been on the vanguard of wildlife conservation."

Pennsylvania's enrollment in the Compact was made possible by the enactment of Senate Bill 1200, sponsored by Senate Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Richard L. Alloway II (R-33). The bill unanimously passed the Senate on March 23, and was approved by the House, on Sept. 13, by a vote of 178 to 15. Gov. Rendell signed the bill into law on Sept. 24, making it Act 60 of 2010.

Those states that are a member of the IWVC are: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nevada; New Mexico; New York; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; and Wyoming.

The law to increase fines and penalties for poaching was made possible by House Bill 1859, which was sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Edward G. Staback. The bill was approved by the House on July 21, 2009, by a vote of 196-3. The Senate, after making minor adjustments to the bill, approved the measure unanimously on July 3, 2010, followed by a 189-6 concurrence vote in the House also on July 3, which sent the bill onto Gov. Rendell, who signed it on July 9, making it Act 54 of 2010.