On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman we have Duane Dunmire from the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists. Duane is the Vice President of PFSC striving to advocate outdoor heritage of hunting, trapping, angling, boating, shooting sports, the Second Amendment, and natural resources. This is accomplished by their constant presence in Harrisburg protecting our outdoor heritage. Duane shares with us his passion for hunting and also passing on the outdoor lifestyle to younger generations. We discuss standard operations at PFSC, goals and objectives, and how their organization handles adversity within the hunting community, between anti hunters and hunters, and within our capital. Listen in for all this organization has to offer you as a Keystone sportsman or woman, and consider supporting them by joining today!
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!
Mitchell Shirk: [00:00:00] Welcome back everybody to another episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and we are finally wrapping up the month of June. It's hard to believe that we're here, but the month, this is our last week in June, and we are within a hundred days of the start of archery season.
It's it's, I wanna say we're right around 95 ish days or so, 90 some, mid nineties for you statewide, guys like myself, and then anybody who hunts in a unit where it opens two weeks sooner. Man, even better for you. Hopefully you get started shooting. I know I have not started shooting near as much as I want to.
I'm gonna change that here shortly. Also, hunting licenses are now on sale. We've got the new set up for Antlerless licenses where you can buy 'em over the counter. You [00:01:00] can buy 'em online, you can buy 'em, at your regular sporting goods store that sells your licenses wherever you want.
But no more pink envelopes. Hard to believe that we have. Gone away from the pink envelopes that have been tradition for so long. But hey, things change. This we're coming off of Father's Day. So happy belated Father's Day to everybody listening to this who is a father. We did did a little fishing extravaganza with my two boys on Father's Day this year.
My wife asked if I wanted to go to some fishing, I dunno if you call it fishing rodeo. Fishing camp thing for kids. It was at Cabela's. I was like, yeah, that sounds great. And I was a little disappointed. It was literally a tiny little retention pond. We had a hard time just catching a sunfish, but we still had a good time.
Lucas got to catch he got to reel in a catfish, which was pretty cool. So he was a happy kid and it was a good day to spend with the kids. And I I got my dad a golf [00:02:00] driver because he loves golf and wanted a new driver desperately. We went a little bit extra this year just because he's been helping me out so much with some house projects, which I'm hoping we can continue to grind out.
And hopefully we'll have the majority of 'em wrapped up by the time Archer season comes, because it's hard for me to believe that we might still be doing it. But there's a good chance we'll still have stuff to do when hunting season comes for these house projects. And Lord knows I'd like it to be all wrapped up by then.
But this coming weekend, our 4th of July weekend will be my first dedicated time that I'm gonna spend scouting and doing any preparations for this year. Hard for me to believe I'm saying that too. Normally, I've done a lot at this point, but I haven't. We are going up to our cabin for a lovely long weekend, 4th of July trip, and I have batteries [00:03:00] in store.
I've got SD cards to swap. I've got cameras to move, cameras to pull, and I've got some cameras that I haven't looked at the cards since October, so they were cameras I wanted to soak. I had anticipated pulling 'em sooner than this, but it just hasn't happened. So yeah, I'm definitely gonna have some work to do.
In that regard, but I'm looking forward to it. I plan to shoot my bow, just start putting reps in there and hopefully bring a couple other toys to shoot while I'm there. But hopefully you guys have something wonderful lined up. And yeah, it's just the holiday season. We're turning over the new leaf.
I know summer has started and it feels like summer with this weather here lately. So keep busy, keep doing something active and yeah, just hope all is well with you guys. This week's episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Duane Dunmire and he is the vice president of the eastern part [00:04:00] of Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists.
Now, whenever you, me personally, whenever I get exposed to an advocate group, or I wouldn't call this group a political group by any means, although they are very active in Harrisburg I just like you, you never know is there polarization? Are if you have somebody from a group like this, do you send any messages to people because they're positioned one way or the other and I didn't know what to think.
And to be honest, I didn't know a lot about P F S C and it was a great opportunity for me to learn and realize that they're just advocating what. The members of the group want, and there's no real push one way or the other of any kind of polar, for instance, Dwayne and I talk a lot about the [00:05:00] Saturday opener of deer season versus the Monday opener of deer season.
And Duane has his personal opinion about what he would like to see, and Mitchell has his personal opinion, what he would like to see. But at the end of the day, when and as we share, a perfect example that what they advocate is what they get the most responsive from the organizations and the members that they have within their group.
And they're not pushing it one way or another. They're just looking for opportunity. They're looking for decisions to be made on sound science and trying to advocate our. Outdoor privileges are outdoor sports as best we can. I think it's too easy to realize or too easy to forget, I should say, that there are people out there who want to take away our outdoor privileges, hinder them.
There's [00:06:00] anti-hunting groups out there, and they continue to try to do things that hinder our freedoms as sportsmen. Not only that, there are a ton of people in Harrisburg, good people, but don't have a clue about what things are being proposed in the outdoor the outdoor community, rules, laws, regulations, that they have no idea what kind of impact it'll have.
And, They're voting on these things that could potentially pass and change our lifestyle. There's plenty of examples, but the best thing that we can have then is people who educate and help people in Harrisburg understand what they are voting for and who supports it and who does not.
And that's where Pfsc comes in and. This is this was eye-opening for me. Duane was [00:07:00] a great guy. He was a great host, or great guest, I should say. I kinda let him take over the hosting duties for a while just because he was just a world of knowledge and talking from experience in his networking across the state and just trying to bring sportsmen together, bring them together on a united front and just love what we do and keep that going and never let that die.
So let's let's just get rolling with this episode. Have me quit rambling about it. Before we do, real quick, I want to give our shout out to our sponsors, Radix Hunting. I've been saying it before. I'll say it again. Camera season, man. I am going to be doing my camera pulls upstate on.
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Really good maneuverability from shooting my bow to, having a backpack. Speaking of, I love their Lodi backpack. I've been using it in a rucking workout. I'll put 25 pounds of weight on and hike up and down the hill on my, at my house for a while. So their gear is solid. Their, I love their camel pattern that I'm using the digital pan pattern, the disruption.
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joining me today on today's show. I've got Dwayne Dunmar. Dwayne, thanks for making the trip up. Thanks for having us. It's amazing those little like small world connections that you make too, because we were talking when we first connected I went to high school with your daughter?
Duane Dunmire: Yeah, with my oldest daughter
Mitchell Shirk: Morgan. Yeah, that was crazy. So we started making that connection and you're local here, so [00:10:00] that was great. Hey tell me a little bit about
Duane Dunmire: yourself. I'm originally from Western Pennsylvania out towards Altoona, little small town called Puzzle Town. Okay.
Most people, never heard of that came down east here, went to college, and just so many employment opportunities here compared to where I'm from that I just stayed. Always been an outdoorsman. I just did a podcast with a gentleman from Pittsburgh and it was journey on the Fly.
It was more fly fishing and where I'm from I grew up with my mother's grandfather and he sucker fished with all his little buddies. We would go along the stream and two hooks and blackhead worms and catch suckers, stick 'em in a net at the end of the day, put 'em back. And on the way home it's always ice cream somewhere, a hot dog, a hogie something, and a big rabbit of hunting.
Hit his old model 97 and we had beagles. And of course that was just you start out early, you can fish when you're younger back then, and. I started rabbit hunting with 'em, like 10 walking along and learning and getting that itch to, to get down there and what we called the bottoms there in [00:11:00] holidaysburg and hunt rabbits and eventually got to do that and missed probably way more than I ever shot.
But I think that's the truth of it. And just grew up loving the outdoors. My dad was a, he hunted out west and I didn't get to see him much, but we always made time in hunting season. He'd come back and we hunted PA woods and. I was that normal pa 11 year old, turned 12 in July and just couldn't wait for that first day of buck season.
And wow. The heart beating and the pounding and of course back then, the first day of rabbit, there was cars everywhere.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. It's amazing how that's transitioned.
Duane Dunmire: I'll get into that later about the rabbit hunting npa, but man, we grew up in eating Halloween candy and while we're rabbit hunting here, knows dogs and then the dog, we always had an older dog named smoking.
He did hunt and he just stayed with the hunters and let the younger ones hunt. But I wouldn't change my outdoor pass for anything. Then I came here and, went to college and stayed around here in this, in what I call the eastern part, say Lancaster, Burkes, Lebanon [00:12:00] tend to hunt and still do, but I still go home to Altoona to hunt with my
Mitchell Shirk: family.
Gotcha. And you said, you you, you said of all the things you enjoy is deer hunting one of the things you enjoy the most now?
Duane Dunmire: I do, and I'm not so much about the. And I, trust me, I, getting a nice, beautiful buck and I did last year. It's a taxidermist, and you think I like being out and just watching as you get older, you get to that stage.
Sure. My son's 31 and I try to get a deer early in artery so I can help guide some kids. Get demo deer. And I did that last year. We guided a kid and he got a beautiful little five point Sure. Three eight game lands. But he was excited. Now that's all he wants to do is hunt deer and that's what it's all about.
And I do like deer hunting. I like as you get older, the cold bothers you. So the archery is very appealing. And and you can pick and choose, if it's raining I'm not going out this afternoon, or if it's you just not feeling the best. Cuz when I grew up you had to, three days of dough afterwards.
And most of the time it was foggy and icy [00:13:00] and if you were sick and you were still out there. So archery's been really good to me and just. To see nature is just tremendous.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. I was telling somebody that's not really a hunter, so to speak. They have no problems with hunting, but I was explaining, and they were asking me about my Turkey season, and I had a, I had an incredible Turkey season.
I, for the first time in my life, I killed two birds. Wow. In pa, got both tags filled, both of them. But I did it in the first week in three hunts. I hunted three times, killed two birds. It was unreal. And I was so blessed. But I, they said, do you do you ever feel like, almost upset that it's over?
I'm like, oh yeah. Killing isn't the fun part. Hunting is the fun part. And then, and they didn't understand that because, hunting it, killing is part of hunting obviously, but there, there's so much about it. And you were talking about taking kids and transitioning to taking stuff like that continues to hunt and instills it into a younger generation.
And that is very important. We've gotta keep this tradition alive and that's where. In, in a sense where you're coming from with P F S C too, so I'm curious, how did [00:14:00] you get into the position you're in with P F S C? And explain, I'm using the abbreviation.
Sure. P FSC
Duane Dunmire: Pennsylvania Federation support's been a conservationist. Just a brief history here we're 91 years old this year, and if you go back, 91 years, coal mining was very prominent and it still is in some parts of the state. And five gentlemen just saw their streams being just decimated by the, the pollution.
So they joined, they formed this organization to say we gotta get to the capitol and let people know what's going on. Cuz they, they love trout fishing. They love fishing, and they wanna, pass it down. So the, it's been going on. We're the oldest organization that does this in the state and what makes us different.
Is I belong to a lot of national organizations and they're wonderful. They are. They have their place. And I tell people, if we join a national, why do we have to join you? What a national, and I'll use the nra, belong to the nra. The, their whole book [00:15:00] is United States, and they have a chapter in pa.
Our, we have one book and there's 67 chapters cuz there's 67 counties. And I'm, listen, I'm really, we are, we're concerned like New Mexico banned, I believe, trapping on public lands. That does concern us, but at the same time, we'll watch it because, things are emulated in other states.
My concern's Pennsylvania and I've been in New Mexico and hopefully that'll get changed out there, but we're just Pennsylvania and the way I got is, there's sportsman's clubs. I don't like to use the term gun clubs, but Sportsman's clubs all through the state. We're in Schuylkill County, I believe there's 31 in this county.
There's a lot. Yeah. And I was in another county and just started going to the local club, and hey, shoot your 3 0 8 and your at six, whatever. And. Hey, you wanna maybe be a trustee, be an officer. So you find us out. And then Schuylkill County has a very active county federation where they're all 31 clubs, have [00:16:00] meetings, and then they send a representative once a month to the county meeting.
So information, who's having a youth day, who's having a fishing derby and they support each other. And I started doing that and my county became an officer in a club, got involved in the county federation and we were at our youth, or I'm sorry, our county rally. Down at Middle Creek and I was one of the fundraisers to get the prizes and the new executive director was there and heard and said, Hey, do you want to get involved here at this county level?
And I said, let me think, because I found out who the guy was. His name was Glenn Blo and he has passed, but he was a mentor to me. He represented us at the Pfsc. I didn't know the Pfsc existed. And so I just got involved and talked to Glenn and he gave me his blessing to take his position as the county rep He was in failing health and got involved there.
Then became I remember at large person officer had a [00:17:00] horrible accident and they say, do you wanna fill in for her? Okay, so fill in for her. Went through some transitions and they said, would you consider being the vice president? So
Mitchell Shirk: I'm curious a little bit, what was your motivation? In enrolling into a position where you're helping giving back from the gun club side to the, to P F S C.
Like what prompted you or was within you that said, this is something I want to do for the outdoors?
Duane Dunmire: I'll compare it to, I, I did a youth day at our local club for their hundredth anniversary, and the kids were excited when they got their prizes afterwards. And I liken it too, and this is not a long story, but when I think it was either Rocky one or Rocky two come out, my brother and I was young then we get in my brother's old Chevy custom pickup truck after the movie and there's a kid running down the alley and he's shadow boxing.
He was so moved by that movie that he wanted to go. I was scared he was gonna hurt somebody. He's [00:18:00] shadow boxing and I'm thinking, That's what we need to do with these kids. We gotta get them excited that if they go to an event and they get a fishing rod, they're bugging their parents. We gotta go fishing.
We gotta go fishing. I have tremendous memories and the joy, when you and I tell everybody, if you're gonna do something, mentor a kid, look at the look in their face when they get their first year, they catch that first trout. If we don't do that, it's lost. And so the word tradition means nothing then. Giving back.
That's with my college background, we were trained to, service the community and work with them. So that I just got involved with, I like their mission and it's led to me meeting a lot of great people and be I'm inspired when I talk to people like you and there's so many organizations out there that are helping, but we need to be a little bit more organized
Mitchell Shirk: together.
Tell me a little bit more about the mission. What is the mission? What is, what's your goal and what's what's the mission statement behind P F S C? Our
Duane Dunmire: goal [00:19:00] is let us go to Harrisburg, that's the capital. So you can enjoy the field, the range, the streams. Everything turns political.
Let's just face it. It does. And we are the group that goes into Harrisburg and we talk to the assemblymen. And we talk to the agencies and say, listen, this new bill's coming up. And we work with them. We work with the game commission because a lot of times some of these assemblymen and no fault of their own, they get in to serve on a political level.
They may get on a committee or asked to vote on a bill that they know nothing about. And it's no, no offense to them. And so what we do, Is we provide information to them. Yeah, you're gonna vote for this bill. Let's look at everything. And cuz a lot of times they just, and again, you're a young assemblyman and they're just gonna vote on something cuz that's what you do.
And how many of
Mitchell Shirk: them that you actually talking with have an outdoors background?
Duane Dunmire: It's getting less every year. Yeah.[00:20:00] I use the picture and I don't want to turn it Republican, Democrat cause that's not the case. There's a picture of president Kennedy, I think he was holding an ar.
And everybody thinks, oh, it's Democrat, Republican. It's not. It's the culture we're living in where people, some of the politicians have never fished, never owned a dog, never heard a Turkey call. And so they're voting on things. And no, some parts of our state, we, it's just not outdoor based.
Some of the counties they're voting on a fly fishing bill or a rabbit hunting bill in Center County. They've never even been to Center County. So we are out there at the other agencies providing information and it's a political world, and so we just provide information so that we can keep this tradition going.
Mitchell Shirk: Gotcha. So that's the ra that's definitely a rabbit hole that we want to go down a little bit today because politics are, they're messy, they're polarized. They're so many things. And a lot of people, when you get into the [00:21:00] hunting and wildlife side of thing, it'd be, a lot of people will just make the blanket statement of keep politics out of the wild, out of wildlife stuff.
But at the same time, that's never gonna happen to a degree. Never. And I'm curious tell me a little bit about some of the more recent things that come to your mind that's or things that are on, in the. In the works that maybe general sportsmen wouldn't even have a clue as far as, bills, regulations, things that would just go outside of our general knowledge of things like things you were working behind the scenes, we wouldn't even
Duane Dunmire: see, I tell you what, the one year during Covid, there was a lot of, and there's al there's always gonna be anti-gun, anti-hunting bills. Being proposed. Now, how far do they go? A lot of times you never even hear about 'em, but we're watching every one of 'em. I believe there was over 91 year in this state Wow.
That nobody knows about. Yeah. Because, till they get to the committees and the appropriation committee and the fishing game it gets, there's a lot of votes needed, but at the same time, Each year [00:22:00] it's getting more acceptable to accept some of these bills. Really, they have, they don't, they're not hunting or fishing or conservation based.
It's, but it trickles down through, it trickles down through. And so what our organization does is we have a guy named Mike Reiner, who's our director of legislative issues. Tremendous man. So smart. And he takes me to capital and guides me through everything. And I go this will man, he says, oh, this bill's come through.
But don't worry about it cuz it's never gonna see the light of day. But the fact is, it is being introduced and, it's like asking out your first date. You may ask 10 times before she says, I'll go out and get ice cream with you. But sooner or later, It's gonna come down to Pike, you're gonna get an ice cream, so that bill could, this session may be introduced, never goes anywhere.
Five years now. It has more feet to it. And
Mitchell Shirk: I think that's really interesting. That's a really good analogy you put, because you think about when you're in high school, college or whatever, and you get persistent enough that you just wear [00:23:00] it down. That's how I got my wife. I don't know about you, but anyway no, like when there's a special interest or an extremist, or a very passionate group of some sorts, that's against us continuing to knock on that door when you're getting very neutral or un, I don't wanna say uneducated, but unaware individuals that are holding office.
Yeah. At some point it's. Probably going without the poll, the response from somebody like P F S C, it's probably going to just slowly work its way in just because of the persistence of it.
Duane Dunmire: That's the way it goes. Yeah. Yep. And there's people that they'll run for office on a certain agenda and their agenda may be anti-hunting, anti-guns.
And that's what we work at and we all want people to be safe there. There's nobody out there that wants anybody to be unsafe. We gotta perceive or present the hunters and the support and the trappers of the service we provide, how safe we are, how concerned we are with things. [00:24:00] And it's not 1975 anymore.
We have to change with the times and the pfsc is doing that. We are. Representing large groups. So
Mitchell Shirk: changing with the times is very difficult regardless of whatever area of life you, whether we're talking about white white-tailed deer hunting or whatever. Speaking with changing with the times.
So we talked a little bit, and I'm sure we'll circle back to this, but we were talking about the polarization between basically anti-hunting or anti-gun or something like that, and the hunting community. But what about The polarization we get within our own community, the hunting community itself.
Like how do you stand in a position where you're trying to fight for the entire community when there's polarization within our own community in certain hunting
Duane Dunmire: aspects. You're not saying it, but you're saying that the big one right now is the Saturday, Monday open. Yeah, that is a big one.
That's huge. I see both sides of the coin. Sure. I really do. I've been part of a hunting camp and that hunting camp, eating out of the same frying pan for three days [00:25:00] and getting your shirt tail cut off and where's my boots and are filled with whipped cream. That's all good stuff, man. It really is.
You know how many of us older hunters have shirts with no shirttails on them for, missing a deer, but then you see, they moved it to Saturday. And people are upset and understandably so there's two sides of that. And I walk into places and they want to hear. Oh, you should be moving it back to Monday.
No, you should keep it. Part of the state wants it to stay Saturday. Some want to move it Monday. What we're doing is we want the game commission to handle that because once you get the general assembly involved, it gives them a little momentum. Now what else can they do? And so there's that.
What do we do here? So our P F S C stance has been, the Game Commission manages over 400 animals in this state. And they're not all game animals. Let the Game Commission make the best decision they can for the sportsman. [00:26:00] The pfs E does not always agree with the game commission. Sure. And, but at the same time we want them to make the decision cuz they're the experts.
Mitchell Shirk: One thing you told me on the phone when we were talking This issue of the Saturday Monday opener, that's not a scientific, biological decision whatsoever. That's an emotional decision. That's a What's the word I'm looking for? Like a decision for public based, nothing on science.
Yeah. I don't care what anybody says. I don't think adding an extra weekend into our firearm season is gonna have a drastic effect on our deer population. I don't think it's gonna have any repercussions. It's probably gonna just have more opportunity. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You were talking most mostly about the biological components.
When it comes to making those decisions, you wanna be on the forefront of making decisions that are based on accurate science, good data. And that's one thing I really appreciate because that has the greatest impact [00:27:00] for us all. It, people think it has more of an impact of when the first day of deer hunting starts, because that's what.
Their tradition is, but really what's important is maintaining and improving population's habitat, yada y. So speak on that a little bit,
Duane Dunmire: you know what I can remember the last year and I wish I knew the date the last year you could shoot a spike. Yeah. 2000. 2000. I, yeah. Yeah. It was so I'd never shot a spike before.
Never. And I'm like, I want one of those big six and a half, seven and a half inch spikes. I, I did, I know I'm people like, no, he should be shooting 180 class buck. I wanted a spike. I did get a spike that year, and it was no six inches. It was, four inch spike. Look, that we were putting in antler restrictions.
The buck that you got the next year you took to the Taxidermic, cuz it was 16 inches wide, those deer aren't one of the taxidermist anymore because, Now you're talking 2021 inches wide [00:28:00] in the girth on the antlers. So that was a big controversial one that people didn't accept right away.
But now I'd love to know the financial impact on the taxidermic because to my knowledge, I got a nice buck in 2002. I shot it in November. I had it back by June. Now you go old tax dermo for it could be 18 months, right? What do you mean 18 months? You've got that much work. It, they had that much work.
So the deer hunting with the Saturday, Monday, is there a biological aspect to it? And you're right, shooting a deer on Saturday is no different than on a Sunday or Monday. It's. It's still taken of an animal. Yeah. But we went to game commission to do it and it is a passionate issue with people
Mitchell Shirk: around this state.
Same thing with Sunday hunting. Very passionate, very polarize
Duane Dunmire: polarizing. Yes, it is. And I see both sides of the coin. Absolutely. And it's not that I'm waffling back and forth. I've been with camps. [00:29:00] I like the Monday opener. I like that tradition of going up Sunday up to Altoona, my brother's house, watching football.
We just cut our Sunday short now we don't hunt that day as much. And that's. It's the beauty of that. You don't have to. But at the same time I get the other point and I hear it when I speak and it's, I hear it in different parts of the state, some parts of the state, it's not even a concern.
Yeah. And some they'll beat you up on the way to your car, which is okay. Yeah. And
Mitchell Shirk: I love that passion and the energy because it I, that to me says there is enough people in this state and in this country that want to fight for what we have right now. Yes. As, as far as wildlife hunting, conservation, trapping this, so on and so forth.
That's really good. But yeah. And one of the things I want to try to do with my show, and I think I just wanna be with that. I just want people to unite as one and understand we're gonna have differences. That is going to happen. But the more I can support you, if you would prefer hunting on Monday [00:30:00] versus Saturday of the opening season, but I just want you to be successful.
And I don't think changing the Saturday, Monday back for the, I don't think it's gonna have an impact on my hunting. So if it's more positive for you and I can work around it, that's okay. And that's the kind of mindset that I would just love to have with people. Like where's the positive in everything that we do?
Duane Dunmire: That's true. We're fighting. And that's not good because then it, the perception in the public is these guys don't get along. And it's not that we don't get along. There's passion behind it. And I'll give you a good example. I just visited last spring, last summer, a group of people that banned hummingbirds.
Mitchell Shirk: What does that mean?
Duane Dunmire: They catch 'em and they put a band on 'em and they record where they're Oh, banned. Yeah. Gotcha. Now I, you say hummingbirds. I'm gonna tell you what the passion on that we were on somebody's house. They're on a route where they come through the passion for doing that's equal to deer hunters.
I've been to, and I talked to [00:31:00] Trappers and we rep, we're with the Pennsylvania Trappers Association. They're with us. They're on our board now, and they've been for a while. But these guys are pacing the night before, the first day of trapping. They're passionate. What we gotta do, okay, we're all passionate, but can we come together and put that passion in the right direction?
And the fighting on Facebook. Tick TikTok. Oh, social
Mitchell Shirk: media's just an
Duane Dunmire: evil thing. It's terrible. And That's where we come in. We're like, Hey let's all sit down at the table, get your group involved so you have a vote, and let's talk about this and let's be a united front so that when we walk in the Capitol Hey, the Pfsc is here.
And we're not a radical group. We, doors are open to us, independent, Democrat, republican, our, we are not a radical group. We want science based. We want what's best for the environment. And we want to continue the tradition. Now, whether it stays on a Saturday or Monday, I'm with you. To me, it doesn't matter.[00:32:00]
I'm a big archery hunter now. But I do love rifle hunting in the Sure. I do. I love it. But let's join together and let's make the best decision we can.
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Find out more about this system and get your firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check them out on Instagram and Facebook. Yeah you talked about science and people being passionate about stuff I always go to Whitetails because it's very passionate for me, it's probably the, it is the most talked about game animal [00:33:00] in North America.
And, there is there's a lot of information about out there about how to improve your property for whitetail deer and how to do this and that, and it's whitetail. But what I've learned with the my, my short background in science and things like that, and networking with very well established biologists and people who understand ecosystems is when we improve things for the betterment of the entire ecosystem, the entire wildlife, we all benefit.
The species that that we pursue. Let's face it, if we if we have a well-balanced prey population, predator populations are always synergistic with that. And that's gonna give opportunity for trap. But if we do things right at the habitat level, that's gonna trickle down for all of us.
And I think it's difficult for us to understand because, the simplistic mine is I want more turkeys, so we just need to do everything across the state to make more turkeys. But, and the reality of that is manage managing the landscape for what we have is going to improve everything and we all benefit from that.
I think that's really important. Understanding that balance.
Duane Dunmire: I'm sitting here by your house. You said you put a [00:34:00] new roof on here, you have a swimming pool. It wasn't like this when you bought it. You're doing little things all over. It's better for your in-laws when they come over. It's better for your kids' friends.
It's better for your business associates if you kept it the way it was. No, nothing. Nobody wants to live here if the roof's leaking. So when you look at Habitat, it's the same thing. Let's improve it. And I love, at first I didn't get it before I was with the pfs e go into game lands and they just clear, cut this area and put this fence up.
You come back two years later and they have the little door you can go in, you walk in 10 feet, you're like, I want the skin on my face. So I'm leaving because there's briers and berries and that's heaven to animals. Absolutely. Not just deer. That, that's just, and our, some of our woods Forest.
And Gary Alt was with the Game Commission. I've watched most of his videos. He said, if you can see a hundred yards in the woods, it's not a healthy forest. And there's a lot of game lands where you can shoot 150 yards, not a healthy forest, but as soon as you [00:35:00] bring that habitat, your songbird, your deer, your turkeys, your grouse, your pheasants, your everything just explodes.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. And a lot of people think all the time I've heard this statement about when settlers came here the woods were all the same age, and that's not true. You look back in, in a lot of the the historian writings and stuff, there was a lot of different age force because you have natural disasters.
We had an abundance of wildlife that managed it on their own. We had Native Americans that, that took things sparingly and, was not overkill in any sense. And then you look at you, you look at the history of Pennsylvania alone in a lot of our forests. Like I just hunted, my I, I hunt a bunch of counties in the Northern tier and Potter County, Lycoming County, Clinton County, Tioga, a lot of those places where you have those large woods, they're all the same age forest cuz it all was cleared within a certain timeframe.
Yes, you have all those logging roads. So the age of the forest in Pennsylvania is the same across the board and there's no structure. Like one thing I learned. From the wildlife side of things is any time [00:36:00] that you can vary the height of canopy and from deciduous forest of a hundred years to 20 years to conifer forest, to grassland, the more diversity in canopy, the more diversity of vegetation and wildlife, what we have.
And so you think about the broad spectrum of Pennsylvania, we don't have that. And there's, there, again, there's a lot of just lack of knowledge of why things may be done a certain way to improve it. But it's like you said, in the long run, you start seeing, it opens your eyes and go, wow, this makes sense.
It's better for everybody. And I like that. You fight for that
Duane Dunmire: for sure. For all those people listening and watch Yellowstone season five, they're getting ready for the cows to come in and they're talking and there's a fire off in a distance. And the one actor says that's Mother Nature.
She burns it down and puts it out, keeps the forest going yeah, that, like you just said, things naturally happen and now we have to help sometimes with some of that stuff. I love that some of our forests are being [00:37:00] rejuvenated and it benefits everybody.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. I think the thing people gotta realize too is what happened, hundreds of years ago and the things that has happened over time with man, we've degradated a lot of our, a lot of our habitats, a lot of our forest.
You think about acid rain. How has acid rain affected this state? It's greatly affected this state. It's greatly affected our soils. I'm not opposed to clear cutting, but we had a massive clear cut that changed the forest structure. We've had invasives come in over the past a hundred years and that's all things that have just really changed our structure.
So it's gonna take improvement. What we see in the field in certain places as far as the. Maybe the lack thereof of what used to be. It's not gonna take it, you can't fix a problem in five years that's been created over the last 100. That's true. True. It takes a long time for doing that.
But the only way that we continue to go in the right direction is circling back to what you're talking about here with us. Yeah, tell me a [00:38:00] little bit more about, things that have happened in, is there any other hot topics right now that you'd like to share with us that P F S C is
Duane Dunmire: working on?
Unfortunately, most of our time and for unfortunately, fortunately it's a Saturday Monday, we're getting a lot of response and it's just heated and, we're not gonna get too on the cutting edge and make a definitive, we want the game commission to say, what do you feel is best? And you're right, sometimes there's decision made that are emotional.
As of right now, like we represent the trappers and there's really nothing coming down the pike with trapping. Every now and then a bill will be passed on a certain trapper, something I, and we watch that, and then the trappers tell us how we should present it. Off the top of my head, I don't know one right now that we're really Congress is new.
In pa they just put in a new house, new Senate, and we're getting acclimated to all those new people and we'll see what the summer brings. Right now, of course, the online dough [00:39:00] tags, yeah, that's a big topic, especially with the older generation. How am I gonna get my dough tags? They just increased it across the state by.
About 147,000 or so. I'm not sure. Okay. It was a lot. And I may be wrong on that, but I don't know. Anybody gets refused on the first round of any wmu.
Mitchell Shirk: No. As long as you're timely. I've also had I've had cases where, you get it sent in late and you're good. I think there's a couple specific units, but it's very few and far
Duane Dunmire: between, like the southern tier the York counties, Lancaster Counties, I think they go pretty fast.
And then in what they used to call the triangle, the Clearfield Center, they go fast, but I'm from Altoona. By the third round, they're the, there's still tags locked. So that's one that we're watching. And that, that was I think Senate Bill 4 31 that went through and that's already a done deal.
They're worried about the system crashing. And that's feasible. They, the game commission admitted they're working on that. They're gonna do everything they can to eliminate that. But you just gotta work through them. The three of the four [00:40:00] bills just came through the house with the red flags and stuff, but it has to go to the Senate yet.
So we're watching that and there's the politics come in is people perceive that as a Democrat Bill versus a Republican bill. If it goes to the Senate, I think the Senate's 26, 28. 22. Okay. With Republicans, they may never see the light of day out of the Senate. We don't know. So we watch 'em and it may take a long time for them to even get on the floor of the Senate.
Mitchell Shirk: one thing I was thinking of as you were speaking too, what about, the Pennsylvania Game Commission does manage for on some species, game animals, non-game animals. Do you get involved in any kind of bills or things going on within our state that are non-game related?
Duane Dunmire: Yeah, we do, wetlands are I love wetlands.
I hunt some wetlands upstate. And when you have organizations that they live for that particular wetland and a company wants to take it over and do something, we do [00:41:00] help out a little bit there and we will get involved. Because we want you to be able to hike. Even if you're not a hunter or fisherman, we want you to hike that you're not seeing pollution.
So we do get involved in that time to time. And then what'll happen is organizations will ask us to help 'em. Cuz I, we can't be, we're trying, we'd love to say we know everything in every little county and every township, but we don't. Sure. We do get involved cuz we want clean environment and then everybody profits.
Mitchell Shirk: Exactly. And that was what kind of what we said earlier, you get Get clean environment quality habitat. Everybody benefits from that. I was thinking of stuff when it comes to the game, non-game. One of, one of my biggest pet peeves and this is me sticking my neck out, but I don't really care.
I, it drives me nuts when I think about our hunting license, sales, taxes, things like that. Going to things like putting a video camera on a bald eagle nest drives me nuts. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Yeah. But for me I can't see through my thick head [00:42:00] how is that benefiting that, how is that benefiting the overall greater good for our wildlife?
And I think there's an educational piece to that and there's an enjoyment, there's a connection to that. And I understand all that. Yeah. But it's a non-game related thing for an organization that's really dedicated to games. So that's just me being a blockhead. Sure. But you, you know what I liked what you had said there with the things like outside of the game side of things is you're basing it off of quality environment, habitat and science driven solutions regardless of species.
And that's important, we've beat that
Duane Dunmire: dead horse. It's huge. And I'll tell you what I needed to do when I got, I've only been involved with P F S C about three and a half years, is put some of your personal away because I give you a case, I'm sure when you talk about the science and progressing.
Somewhere out there, somebody's listening and they were the first one to show up at the hunting camp with a bolt rifle back in 65 and all the, oh, you're gonna [00:43:00] shoot all the deer. You showed up with a scope. Sometimes you gotta change your thinking here and say with the Eagle camera, educate ourselves first.
Where is this leading and why do we want to do it? And then what is the result of the data you're getting? And if the game commission or whoever's doing to come back and say, here's why we want to do it. This is what we hope to achieve or not achieve. Let's do this. It's like our winter edition here.
The Martin, we backed studying the reintroduction of the mark, right? No, we didn't, we did not go and say, let's do it. The trapper said we took a vote. Or on our board, do you want us to back. The study. Nothing wrong with the study. No. And if you get a chance, listen to that young, the biologist present and he gets a, you take the Martin outta the presentation.
The history of the Pennsylvania woods is incredible what it is says. But then you put the Martin in. So right now it's just the study stage. What is the end result they're gonna have? Again, when [00:44:00] they first said, we're gonna, you have to shoot three on one side, there was an outcry everywhere because a lot of guys like to shoot the first bucket and there's nothing wrong with that and be done.
I get that. If they would say, Hey, let's go back to shooting, there'd be more of an outcry facing, let's go back to shooting any deer. Than there was to say, let's only shoot the big
Mitchell Shirk: ones. I think a lot of us live in our own little world. Yep. We have our own our mindset that we don't want to change.
But y this being in the position you're in with Pfsc, and I've learned this in this two years of doing this show because I've forced myself to interact with an array of different sportsmen. And it's put me in situations where I'm getting outside of my comfort zone and challenging things that I think, and to me, anytime you challenge yourself and you put yourself you, what you believe in, and you put that to the test, sure. You're either going to. Have a whole brand new way of thinking, an open mind, or you're gonna [00:45:00] solidify what you already believe. Sure. For those reasons.
And I think that's really important because again, going back to that emotional based conversation if you're basing it off of what you know, but you don't know everything, that's where we, I think that's wherein lies the problem of the Yeah. The animosity within our outdoor community.
Duane Dunmire: Yeah. You gotta educate yourselves. And I'm not saying we're not uneducated. What I'm saying is, I go back, I loved hunting Clearfield County growing up. We quit hunting there in the early nineties because we weren't seeing the deer. And to drive up there, I love driving up 3 22, going to the camp and a car after car on that Saturday, Sunday.
Orange. You're like, wow. But then you drive back Tuesday night. You saw three deer. Yep. So you go, okay, am I gonna keep driving up there or am I gonna start getting into this archery thing? More opportunity then if I drive up. And already, there's a big difference when you walk in the [00:46:00] first day of rifle in the woods and you already got your buck, and you only need a dough.
You're helping other people with a whole different attitude. And so you gotta change. And with deer hunting, one of the biggest changes I see across the state is that last day, a buck used to be, you are gonna stand in that deer stand or up against that tree till you can't see your hand.
That's not the way it is anyway. It, the people. And I'm not putting the Pennsylvania hunters down. They're not. It's just. They're not doing that anymore. Not, no. Definitely the last day used to be we don't care if there's a death in the family, we'll have the viewing on Sunday. You gotta get out there and that, that's just not the case anymore. Yeah.
Mitchell Shirk: Speaking to that, I just gotta tell this funny story. There's a guy we've run into over the years in state game lands and state forest land where we hunt in where we do a lot of bear hunting. But this guy is a, he's a woodsman.
I don't really know him personally, but he told this story. One of the guys in camp shot this shot at this buck or saw this buck. He saw this buck. It was a beautiful once in a lifetime mountain [00:47:00] buck. We're talking, if you had to guess, it was probably one of those 140 class, 10 pointers running through the big woods of Pennsylvania, something like that.
He saw the deer and it ran down. Th this guy in the in camp saw this deer ran down across the side hill and ran to this guy that I'm talking about that we've run into in the woods. I believe he's fairly local, and he missed that deer. And years later they, they connected in the woods and telling this, that were transpiring this conversation.
That was you that missed that buck that time back in whatever year it was. And he said, yep, it was and he said the date, I'm gonna say the date wrong, but let's just say it was December 3rd, 1984. And the only reason I remember it specifically is because that was the day my son was born. Can you like, so can you imagine you were deer hunting that day and your son was born while you were deer hunting.
That's the level, like when I think about the history of Pennsylvania, that's the passion that we come from and it is different now. It's way different now. And I'm sure there's still people out there who would do that, but I just, that [00:48:00] dynamic then to now I think is different.
Duane Dunmire: The man glen block that I took over for in our county, he got married on a Sunday and Monday was the first day of buck season.
He was in the up the mountain. Yeah. Okay. The honeymoon's cut short cuz it's first day of buck. And I'm not saying there's less passion these days, that's a different, it's directed at different places. And and again, the youth sports has had a huge impact on this stuff. And you gotta change, and I'll give a good example of changing, using some good data. I've been to counties where they're now switching their hunter ed programs to a Wednesday in the summertime. And what's the reason for that? There's no clinic on a Saturday at the school for field hockey or lacrosse.
Parents can come to work and go or take your kid to work. They go to work and let drop their kid off. Their classes are filled. Oh that's smart. Yeah. They said, when are the kids available? Saturday and Sunday I just drove here. I drove by three baseball fields. There wasn't a person, you couldn't [00:49:00] find a seat in the stands.
Weekends. Weekends. So they went to a weekday. It gives the instructors the weekend off and it's less con, it's more convenient to the parents and their classes are filled and it's in the summer. That's another
Mitchell Shirk: example of adapting to the
Duane Dunmire: situation. That's perfect. Adapt situation. Yeah. And so that's what Pfsc is doing is we sit back and say, okay, let's adapt.
Let's present the hunter's view, the Sportsman's view. And let's do it in a reasonable way. Let's come together. And we don't always agree on the board, but we have delegates from every county that come to our conferences and they're, the guy in Armstrong County has a different view of hunting than Burkes.
Absolutely. It's just the way it is. So we have to come some common ground and present it in a good way. And we're always at the game commission hearings. They know us the Game Commission and Phish Commission write articles for our magazine.
Mitchell Shirk: Tell me a little bit more about what does it look like what does a membership look like, P F S C what do you [00:50:00] provide with that membership?
What information is out there for people to find out more about P F S C, that kind of thing?
Duane Dunmire: That's a great question. First, we have different levels of membership. We have your e membership, which is $20 a year, and you get everything on your phone. You and I tell people, have somebody in your club join.
And then they'll be like, my phone is dinging all the time with emails. Yeah, it does. Cuz we are, that's how proactive we are. There's another level where the base level, you get the magazine online, you join a little bit higher up, you get the magazine four times a year in print. Some people like the print version.
You become a lifetime member, your club can join. Now, when a club joins an organization, they get a 10% vote, which means if you have 500 members, you get 50 votes. So then when there's sometimes a game, commissioner, fish commission, Hey, what does your membership say? They, we put a survey out. You get to vote.
If you're an individual, you [00:51:00] get to vote. If you're in a club, you get to vote. And there are things I don't agree with, but guess what? That's not my job. My job is to represent the outdoorsmen. That's democracy, right? That's democracy. That's how we operate because, it was all said and done. I want hunting to go to Monday, but guess what?
I adapted, archery gives me seven weeks in this area. If you go a little bit more east. My word, I know they're not still hunting, but it seems like they're still hunting deer, even though it's may here. Yeah. But there's more opportunity. But I, I, with the membership, we are in Harrisburg, so you don't have to be.
And we keep you updated and we listen to our members. Yeah.
Mitchell Shirk: And like I was browsing through your website, you provided me here with the winter edition of the magazine. There's a ton of information about what's going on, but there's other information that you're providing as well from as far as upcoming events and things like that.
Is there any, anything to speak on that? Yeah,
Duane Dunmire: we have a couple I call 'em Zooms, where you log in, you pay a little [00:52:00] fee, and then there's prizes at the end and we have topics from all over the state. So the biologist that's introducing the Martin had a, an hour session. Yeah. Tom great guy.
Had him on the show. I'm gonna tell you. I was, I've heard him so many times. Just a great his, I tell it's even if you're not into the outdoors, listen to him cuz it talks about the history of pa So we provide that kind of stuff. We've, we're always at the outdoor show we're, we try to do every little outdoor show in the state.
We want everybody to be a member because we want your voice. And I'll give you a great example. We had a club from Pittsburgh area that said, we would like to see this changed. So they wrote up a resolution and handed it to us, and we took it to the game Commissioner. That makes sense.
It's from a different angle. And so we, we allow that, Hey, tell us what you think. Tell us what you don't like. What can we improve? So that's how we operate. And again, we don't always agree in that [00:53:00] boardroom, I can tell you right now, but I went 50 years from now that there's somebody doing my job.
And the kids, there's, people were hunting and fishing and I said this, I was hunting upstate and come out of the woods and This guy's standing on the Game Lands Road and he goes, Hey, I know who you are. He said, we watched you on YouTube presenting what you're doing. And I said, sir, my goal.
And I was talking to him, I said, why are you here on the road? He goes my son's up in the woods with my grandson. I said, my goal, sir, is that someday your grandson's sitting here with that gun and his grandson is up there. Yep. He's the grandfather telling stories about you. The guy got teary-eyed. He goes, thank you.
Yep. Because we're 91 years old to pfs c and we are moving forward and we may have rested a little bit on our laurels. Eighties and nineties, everybody joined. They're not joining as much anymore. That's a new generation, but you still need to get your voice heard. So I'm asking everybody, [00:54:00] you get your hunting license joined A P F S C and yes, an e membership is $20.
My wife and I went out eat the other night. I'm not gonna say the restaurant, but. That was $72 and Yep. I'm like, that was spaghetti like, and it's I see, and I'm not putting hunters down. I'm not I know what they spend. I know their passion. You're driving a $55,000 to $70,000 pickup.
You're hunting with your $1,500 gun. God love you. Join us for 20 bucks. Let us have you enjoy that. And I'm not downing any hundred with that.
Mitchell Shirk: No. But it's a good example of where we have our priorities.
Duane Dunmire: Yeah. And it, I'm just like, join us, have your club join so that when we walk into Harrisburg, and I'll give you a great example of the numbers, game in politics.
There was an election and I called all the people running in this county. Every organization in the county told me their membership numbers. And I said, I represent 11,414 [00:55:00] sportsman vote. What? What? Whoa. We'll pick up the phone because. Voters have, what's every politician worried about? Let's face it, reelection.
And when you say that's how many people you represent, if I go in there screaming and say, I think 2 43 should be outlawed in the state and it's just me, they're gonna go get back in your car. Yeah. And that's just the way it is. But when you walk in there the way that Pfsc does, very professional, and they know our numbers, they need to talk to us.
And that's the way we operate. And we have a lot of good people and our numbers are growing and I hope they continue to grow.
Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. I absolutely hope so. We were talking earlier, we, I keep circling back to this one cuz it is very the Saturday Monday thing. Yeah. And you brought up social media and how things go.
I, when I started this, I was looking to try to find the most diversity on my show within the state. And I never did social media until I started this podcast. I did what a lot of people do, started my page and I started following a couple of pages throughout, the state [00:56:00] and learned quickly that it wasn't it wasn't what I thought it would be.
It's a lot of negative naysay type things. But, there's pages and stuff that talk about the Saturday hunting versus the Monday hunting and people's thoughts on that. And you'll see this pole taken here and this pole taken here. And I said before, I'm not going to buy any of that because I think there's too much bias behind those. And I said, until I see. A survey that's taken by I used to say by the game commission, something that, you know, when you buy your hunting license and they give you three questions they ask. And would you, and one of them being, would your preferred day of opening day of deer season be Monday after Thanksgiving or Saturday after Thanksgiving?
You get that from license sales, then I'm gonna say, okay, that is a very accurate representation. I know not everybody's gonna fill it out, but it's people who buy their hunting license. Yep. And it's information provided there that you can say that. And I bring this up to say the way [00:57:00] you.
PF P F S C handles. Their thing is, that's as close as you're gonna get with that. The way you network with the trapping community or clubs and such that's really close. It's there's no no left or right wing saying it's a neutral thing, just trying to provide the facts.
Duane Dunmire: That's what I like. That's all we do. It's, we try to be as unbiased as we can. Again, we represent the Pennsylvania Trappers Association and they, they have a board member, Don Klinger. Great man. Charlie Sykes is a president, great person. And when it comes to trapping, tell us what your membership says.
I'm not a trapper. I've done events with them and done some things, and I can appreciate it in the service they provide second to none with getting rid of, you can't have overpopulation. But we listen to them cuz they're the experts. Yep. And that's what
Mitchell Shirk: we do. That's what I like.
Hey, we've been rolling here. We've, this was a great conversation, Dwayne. Is there anything you wanna leave us with here or any other things that maybe I skimmed over and you wanna revisit or mi I missed?
Duane Dunmire: The only thing I can tell people [00:58:00] listening is join us it'll be the best if you join it.
$35 is an individual membership. It's the best $35 you're gonna spend when it's concerning the outdoors. You get so much information, you stay outdoors. You go fishing, you go to the range, you go to woods, let us do your battle in Harrisburg. And that way in 25 years, when you're maybe no longer with us or I'm no longer with you, we still have these hunting traditions because there are people that want to take 'em away, right?
And our goal is to
Mitchell Shirk: keep 'em going. I'm assuming if people would look on, I'm sure there's all the social media stuff out there for P F S C. I'm sure if you look up. Pfsc on that, their website I believe is just pfsc do com. That's what it's, yep. So that's a great way to, to look into it more.
Is there any other things that people ought to check out?
Duane Dunmire: We have a Facebook page and we post things on, see every event I do, any event, any of the officers dos on there yeah. And contact the office and say, Hey, we want [00:59:00] a representative to come out and talk to our club, talk to our church group, talk to our whatever.
I went and spoke at a kayaking group. Interesting. Cause they want clean water. But they, nothing to do with fishing, nothing to do with game. They just don't want pollution. I got it. So I went and spoke to them. So yeah, have us come out and speak. We're available. Join us on Facebook. Become a member.
That's a legacy thing. Become a member and let us do the fighting for you.
Mitchell Shirk: I think that's a great way to end it. Dwayne, thank you so
Duane Dunmire: much again. Thank you for having us.