From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission

Duck Banding

This summer, waterfowl biologists across the state and the nation are capturing ducks and placing identification bands on them. The leg bands help biologists to learn about the migration patterns, harvest rates and life expectancy of the birds.

Watch this video to learn more about the leg banding process and its importance as a management tool.

Check out the Pennsylvania Game Commission Facebook page this month for another duck banding video!


We want to hear from you!


Seeking Input

‘The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) are seeking public input through Sept. 11 on the draft 2015-2025 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan. The draft plan and comment forms can be found at: Questions can be directed to the Game Commission at or to the Fish and Boat Commission at Use “SWAP” in the subject line.

Purpose of Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan

The purpose of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan is “to conserve Pennsylvania’s native wildlife, maintain viable habitat, and protect and enhance Species of Greatest Conservation Need.” First developed in 2005, the plan has been the Commonwealth’s blueprint for managing and protecting imperiled species. As required by Congress, State Wildlife Action Plans must be revised no less than every 10 years. For the past 10 years the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan and associated funding from State and Tribal Wildlife Grants have been crucial for protecting and recovering imperiled species and their habitats.

“State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) are designed to help keep our common native species from becoming more rare,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “For rare species already listed as threatened or endangered, the plan is a framework to assist with their recovery. The SWAP is a unique opportunity to plan how we can work together to protect, conserve and enhance not only our diverse fish and wildlife resources but also the habitats that allow them to continue to live and survive on our Commonwealth’s lands and in our waters.”

“Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan is a commitment to maintaining the Commonwealth’s vast diversity of native wildlife, something we are bound to preserve in accordance with our state constitution,” added Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough. “It isn’t enough to say we will. We are bound by our constitutional promise to generations yet to come and our conservation ethic to manage all of the state’s natural resources wisely. This plan helps us do that, and it ensures our efforts will be in step with the federal government and other states.”

Bringing together conservation agencies and organizations from across the Commonwealth, for nearly three years  the Game Commission, Fish and Boat Commission, and their partners have compiled and analyzed information related to species, habitats, threats, conservation actions to address the threats, and monitoring of these species and habitats. The revised draft plan has identified 664 species including 90 birds, 19 mammals, 18 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 65 fishes and 450 invertebrates that require attention.

A State Wildlife Action Plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required for states to receive State & Tribal Wildlife Grant Program funds. The Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Sept. 30, 2015.

Keep the Wild In Wildlife


Fawn Photo: Joe Kosack

It’s undeniable – baby animals are adorable. And fawns top the list.  It’s understandable why people might think that raising a fawn or any wild animal as a pet is a tempting and exciting idea. It’s also undeniable that this is a very bad idea.  Like Hugo, Looney Tune’s abominable snowman, whose well-meaning love was thrust upon Daffy Duck, people must understand that wild animals are not pet material.

When wild animals grow up, they can become dangerous and very unpredictable. Stories about wild animals that have been kept as pets (including deer, even does) attacking and injuring people are frequently in the news.

Wild animals have evolved as independent, free-living beings. They have needs, instincts and behaviors that are inseparably tied both to their appropriate habitat, and to a free-living state. No matter how well designed a captive habitat may be, it can never replicate the freedom that wild animals seek. Wild animals belong in the wild.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission does not encourage or regulate captive deer.  As an alternative, people should consider adopting one of the millions of domestic shelter pets that need a home.

 J.T. Fleegle

Pennsylvania Game Commission

Wildlife Biologist, Deer & Elk Management Section