[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 147 ]
[37 Pa.B. 6753]
[Saturday, December 22, 2007]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its October 2, 2007, meeting, proposed to add Chapter 147, Subchapter V (relating to agricultural damage depredation permit) to define and create the regulatory structure necessary to implement the new agricultural damage depredation permit program within this Commonwealth.
The proposed rulemaking will have no adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for the proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
The proposed rulemaking was made public at the October 2, 2007, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, until January 25, 2008.
1. Purpose and Authority
On July 3, 2007, Governor Rendell signed into law House Bill 881, which, in relevant part, amended section 2121 of the code (relating to killing game or wildlife to protect property) to permit the Commission to authorize other individuals to assist eligible landowners in the destruction of wildlife causing agricultural damage on their property. This bill became effective September 1, 2007, however, before the Commission can begin the issuance of any permits to authorize this activity, the Commission must define and create the regulatory structure to implement this new program. To that end the Commission is proposing to create Subchapter V to define and create the regulatory structure necessary to implement the new agricultural damage depredation permit program within this Commonwealth.
Section 2901(b) of the code (relating to authority to issue permits) provides ''the commission may, as deemed necessary to properly manage the game or wildlife resources, promulgate regulations for the issuance of any permit and promulgate regulations to control the activities which may be performed under authority of any permit issued.'' Section 2102(a) of the code (relating to regulations) provides that ''The commission shall promulgate such regulations as it deems necessary and appropriate concerning game or wildlife and hunting or furtaking in this Commonwealth, including regulations relating to the protection, preservation and management of game or wildlife and game or wildlife habitat, permitting or prohibiting hunting or furtaking, the ways, manner, methods and means of hunting or furtaking, and the health and safety of persons who hunt or take wildlife or may be in the vicinity of persons who hunt or take game or wildlife in this Commonwealth.'' The creation of Subchapter V was proposed pursuant to this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
The proposed rulemaking will create Subchapter V to define and create the regulatory structure necessary to implement the new agricultural damage depredation permit program within this Commonwealth.
3. Persons Affected
Eligible landowners and persons wishing to assist eligible landowners with the destruction of wildlife causing agricultural damage on their property within this Commonwealth may be affected by the proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
The proposed rulemaking may result in a nominal increase in additional cost and paperwork to the Commission in implementing this new program, however, such an increase should be absorbed by the Commission's current budget or staffing, or both.
5. Effective Date
The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
6. Contact Person
For further information regarding the proposed rulemaking, contact Richard R. Palmer, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
CARL G. ROE,
Fiscal Note: 48-259. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 147. SPECIAL PERMITS
Subchapter V. AGRICULTURAL DAMAGE DEPREDATION PERMIT
147.761. Purpose and scope. 147.762. Application. 147.763. Permit. 147.764. Subpermittee. 147.765. Violations.
§ 147.761. Purpose and scope.
The purpose of this subchapter is to provide for depredation permits to be issued to qualified agricultural landowners to authorize them to secure the assistance of subpermittees, not otherwise individually qualified by section 2121 of the act (relating to killing game or wildlife to protect property) themselves, to destroy game or wildlife causing agricultural damage on lands owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the agricultural landowners.
§ 147.762. Application.
(a) Applications for depredation permits issued under this subchapter shall be made through the district wildlife conservation officer on the appropriate form provided by the Commission.
(b) Applications must identify the name and contact information of the permit applicant, the names and contact information of the subpermittees, the specific location of the subject property owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the applicant, the species of game or wildlife causing damage, the specific nature and extent of the damage caused by the game or wildlife and any additional information the Commission may require.
(c) Applications will only be accepted from persons meeting the following criteria:
(1) The permit applicant meets the definition of a qualified ''person,'' as defined in section 2121(c) of the act (relating to killing game or wildlife to protect property).
(2) Except in Wildlife Management Units 5C and 5D, the permit applicant is currently enrolled in one of the Commission public access programs (Farm Game or Safety Zone) for a minimum of 2 years.
(3) The permit applicant possesses a valid agriculture deer control permit if the species sought to be destroyed is white-tailed deer.
(d) Applications shall be accompanied by a copy of the deed, lease or other legal document evidencing the permit applicant to be the owner, lessor or the person in control of the lands to be permitted, including the hunting rights thereon.
§ 147.763. Permit.
A depredation permit issued under this subchapter authorizes the permittee to enlist the aid of a limited number of subpermittees for the purpose of destroying game or wildlife causing agricultural damage on lands owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the permittee.
(1) The maximum number of subpermittees listed may not exceed two per permit, unless the district wildlife conservation officer recommends an increase due to warranted circumstances.
(2) A depredation permit issued under this subchapter is valid at any hour, day or night, but only for the duration of the current permit year.
(3) An annual report shall be submitted on forms supplied by the Commission by July 31 of each permit year.
§ 147.764. Subpermittees.
A depredation permit issued under this subchapter authorizes a limited number of subpermittees, selected by the permittee, to act on behalf of the permittee by destroying game or wildlife causing agricultural damage on lands owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the permittee.
(1) Qualifications. A subpermittee shall be a resident of this Commonwealth, possess a valid resident hunting license or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706 of the act (relating to resident license and fee exemptions) and have no prior record of violations of the act or related license revocations within the previous 10 years.
(2) Eligibility. A subpermittee may destroy game or wildlife upon lands owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the permittee only when the game or wildlife is either actually engaged in the material destruction of cultivated crops, fruit trees, vegetables, livestock, poultry or beehives, immediately following the destruction or when there is just cause for reasonable apprehension of additional imminent destruction.
(3) Lawful devices and methods. A subpermittee shall comply with the arms, ammunition and method restrictions located in section 2126 of the act (relating to unlawful activities) and § 141.19 (relating to killing game or wildlife to protect property). A permittee may further restrict or limit the usage of specific arms, ammunition or methods of destruction as deemed appropriate.
(4) Reporting. A subpermittee shall report all wildlife destroyed within 24 hours to the Commission in the manner required by section 2122 of the act (relating to report to commission officer).
(5) Surrender of carcass. The allowances of section 2124 of the act (relating to retention of edible carcass for food) do not extend to subpermittees. A subpermittee shall surrender the entire carcass, including the head and hide, of all game or wildlife destroyed under this subchapter to the Commission in the manner provided by sections 2123 and 2125 of the act (relating to safekeeping edible carcass pending disposition; and surrender of carcass to commission officer). A subpermittee who surrenders the entire carcass of any game or wildlife destroyed under this subchapter to a food bank or a butcher operating on behalf of a food bank, at the express direction of the district wildlife conservation officer, shall be deemed to have met the surrender requirement.
§ 147.765. Violations.
The Director may deny, revoke or suspend any permit for any violation of this subchapter, specifically including violations of the conditions of the permit or reporting requirements, upon written notice to the permittee.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 07-2355. Filed for public inspection December 21, 2007, 9:00 a.m.]
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