Tight lines… not just for the stream

Always keep a little pressure on the line.

That’s what my fishing mentor always taught me (and reminds me to this day). Once you’ve got that fish on, never let the line go completely slack. And don’t make any sudden moves. Just a steady pressure will do the job.

Keep that steady, constant pressure, but be ready when the time comes to reel it in.

And now, for the sportsmen of Pennsylvania, that seems like a good piece of advice. We’ve put some pressure on the Legislature regarding HB1576 / SB1047 – the Endangered Species Coordination Act. Now it’s time to reel them in.

As a refresher, the bills would, essentially, take the listing of wild trout waters and the listing of endangered and threatened species in Pennsylvania out of the hands of scientists and give that decision to the state legislative committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission – a five-member panel of gubernatorial appointees.

No matter the science-based data collected by biologists, the final approval of the bill would rest in the hands of those appointees and the Game and Fisheries committees of the state House and Senate.

And because the Pa. Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission would no longer have sole authority over the wildlife and fish in the state, as much as $27 million in federal funding could be at stake – almost a quarter of the Fish and Boat Commission’s annual budget.

The House bill is slated for a vote as early as the week of March 10. So now’s the time for more of that steady pressure. In meetings with legislators last month, they told us they wanted to hear from their constituents.

That’s you. And me.

Take a couple of minutes, head over to this website (http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/ ), find out who your legislator is, and send an email, or write a letter, or post to their Facebook page. Just take the time to contact them and let them know that these bills are bad for Pennsylvania and it’s sportsmen.

You may have already done that. Great. But remember, it’s a steady pressure that lands that catch. Let them know, again, ahead of the upcoming House vote, that you’ll be watching and you’d like to see them stand on the side of the sportsmen of the state; sportsmen that pump $1.5 billion into the state’s economy each year, according to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Let’s face it, the sporting community in Pennsylvania is huge. There are hundreds of thousands of people like you and me in this state. It’s not a constituency our elected officials can afford to ignore.

Yes, we are divided on a number of things – but preserving and protecting our fish and wildlife and the habitat isn’t one of them.

Steady, constant pressure.

That’s what makes a successful day on the water, in the field and in Harrisburg.


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