Earlier today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives recognized the 125th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Game Commission by unanimously adopting House Resolution 1061 [https://bit.ly/3dN0a9q], sponsored by PA State Rep. Tom Mehaffie of Dauphin County. As the state’s wildlife agency, the Game Commission has proudly managed Pennsylvania’s wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats for 125 years.
🔸 In 1895, Rep. George Dunkle, of Dauphin County, introduced a bill that was signed into law by Gov. Daniel H. Hastings, which created the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
🔸 In 1913, all resident hunters were required to purchase a hunting license for $1. The first year, there were approximately 305,000 hunters. Today, Pennsylvania has nearly 1 million hunters annually, both resident and non-resident.
🔸 In 1920, the first state game lands were purchased, SGL No. 25, containing 6,288 acres, in Elk County, for $2.75 per acre. Today, the agency manages more than 1.5 million acres of game lands across the state.
🔸 In 1936, the first student class enrolled in the Game Commission’s own Ross Leffler School of Conservation, America’s first game protector school, with 27 men graduating. Today, 701 wildlife conservation officers have graduated.
The Game Commission is currently responsible for managing 480 species of wildlife and their habitats for current and future generations. Wildlife, as well as hunting and trapping, have always been important parts of our state’s cultural heritage. Every day it touches the lives of countless Pennsylvanians and most of us consider wildlife to be state treasure.