Times change, as do the social dynamics of outdoor recreation, but hunting remains big business in Pennsylvania.
In 2012, 930,000 hunting licenses were sold in the state, a decrease from the previous year. But data from the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation indicated those hunters support about 15,000 hunting-related jobs and spend about $986 million per year on gear, with an additional economic impact of $121 million in state and local taxes.
The total hunting-related ripple effect on the state economy is $1.6 billion, according to Hunting Works For Pennsylvania, a new affiliation of regional leaders representing Pennsylvania chambers of commerce, tourist bureaus, sporting organizations, restaurateurs, small businesses and retailers. The group was formed to promote hunting and its benefits throughout the state.
"We want to contribute to public outreach and educate the public and policy makers about the impact of hunting on the economy ... and help to get the message out further," said Hunting Works For Pennsylvania coordinator Tony Reiss.
The group operates under the umbrella of the nonprofit Hunting Works for America, launched in 2010 and now operating chapters in six states. Reiss says the group will form alliances with civic organizations and initiate educational events. Its first project will be the distribution of shop door stickers welcoming hunters to step inside.
A Pennsylvania Scenic River flowing through the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Pine Creek winds some 87 miles through Potter, Tioga, Lycoming and Clinton counties, draining into the West Branch Susquehanna River. Weeks ago, during routine stream monitoring near the Hamilton Bottom Canoe Access Area west of Williamsport, Lycoming County, state Department of Environmental Protection biologists found a mucous-like algae later identified by the National Academy of Sciences to be invasive didymo.
It's the first confirmation of the weed in northcentral Pennsylvania, and the first new site since didymo was found last year on the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, Fayette County.
The presence of didymo in the Pennsylvania Wilds threatens many of the state's limestone trout streams. Fish and Boat Commission executive director John Arway urged anglers to help prevent further contamination.
"Didymo cells can easily be carried downstream and can be picked up by any items which come in contact with the infected water, including fishing tackle, waders, and boats and trailers," he said. "We urge anglers and boaters to 'Clean Your Gear!' before leaving a water body and entering another one."
A Kids Free Fishing Derby will be held Aug. 3-4 at Pymatuning Reservoir. Children age 2 to 15 will fish for bass, bluegills, carp, catfish, crappies, perch and walleye, and 72 fishing rods and trophies will be awarded. The event includes a casting contest, canoeing and kayaking, distribution of habitat and conservation information, and a free lunch. Contestants should bring their own fishing gear and meet in Pymatuning State Park at pavilion No. 13 off Route 285 near Espyville. Registration 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 3, 8-11 a.m. Aug. 4. Details at 724-927-9122.
Bow hunting competition
Top bow hunters from around the world will return to Seven Springs Mountain Resort Aug. 7-10 for the International Bowhunters World Championships. Local bow hunters are invited to compete in a related event, the Seven Springs Bowhunters Open held Aug. 9-10. The two-day, 40-target trophy shoot includes adult and youth classes. For registration information and details, visit www.7springs.com, open "Events."