Pennsylvania Game Commission

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Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission Logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed1895; 125 years ago (1895)
JurisdictionCommonwealth of Pennsylvania
HeadquartersHarrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • 714 Full time - 2015 - 2016
  • 1,000+ part time & volunteer
Annual budget$117,147,608 Fiscal Year 2018[a]
Agency executives
  • Bryan J. Burhans, Executive Director
  • Richard Palmer, Deputy Executive Director
  • Thomas P. Grohol, Deputy Executive Director

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is the state agency responsible for wildlife conservation and management in Pennsylvania in the United States. It was founded over 100 years ago and has more than 700 employees.[2]

Mission and duties[edit]

The mission of the Pennsylvania Game Commission is:

  • To manage and protect wildlife
  • To manage wildlife habitat
  • To inform and educate the public on wildlife and safe hunting practices

The duties of the Pennsylvania Game Commission include:

  • Set hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits
  • Issuing hunting and fur taking licenses
  • Conduct tests for wildlife disease
  • Pheasant release
  • Animal Reintroduction

Conservation Officer - Specific Duties Specific job duties for a Conservation Officer may include investigating complaints or working with schools, communities and service groups to promote environmental conservation and compliance with laws. Conservation Officers may be required to teach courses in boating, bow hunting, trapping and snowmobiling along with hunter education. They may be involved with inspecting falconers, wildlife rehabilitators, bait dealer, taxidermists and gamer breeders. Other job duties may include:

Documenting state and federal misdemeanors, felonies and other violations of environmental conservation laws. Implementing plans to find violations. Processing violators and evidence and submitting reports. Conducting audits of commercial operations to ensure environmental compliance. Communicating environmental conservation goals to the public and media. Conducting safety courses for recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles or off-road vehicles. Maintaining relationships with outside law enforcement agencies. Working with hunters and anglers to ensure conservation laws are being followed. Patrolling assigned areas to ensure there are no violations occurring. Checking hunters and anglers for correct licensing. Subscribe to RSS feed for Public Safety and Law

Wildlife Conservation Officers[edit]

Game Commission WCO near Buchanan State Forest, McConnellsburg, PA.

The main workforce of the Pennsylvania Game Commission are Wildlife Conservation Officers, also known as WCOs. These men and women are trained at the Ross Leffler School of Conservation in Harrisburg. New recruiting classes are formed when positions open up, which is normally every 2nd or 3rd year. Classes are usually kept below 30 students. Training is an 11-month program in Law Enforcement, Natural Resource Management, Wildlife Management, and other subjects. Students are paid $1,150.40 on a bi-weekly basis and are required to live in provided housing.

Pennsylvania Game Commission patch

WCO's serve as the police for wildlife crimes; enforcing the hunting and trapping laws as well as many other laws. They patrol the Pennsylvania State Game Lands and teach hunter-trapper education courses as well as providing many other educational opportunities for the Pennsylvania public.[2]

People feeding Pennsylvania elk are harming them, according to the Commission.[3]

Pennsylvania Game News[edit]

  • Pennsylvania Game News is the PGC's monthly publication, dealing with wildlife conservation and the financial and legislative functions of the Game Commission.
  • Monthly Field Notes, written by WCOs and their deputies, are funny stories about happenings in the fields. They are a monthly favorite of many.[4]

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, six officers have died while on duty.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The PGC does not receive General Fund appropriations from the state legislator.


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Game Commission (2018). "2018 PGC Annual Legislative Report" (PDF). p. 27. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "About the Pennsylvania Game Commission". Pennsylvania Game Commission. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  3. ^ "Game Commission: Feeding is killing Pennsylvania's elk". LancasterOnline. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Pennsylvania Game News". Pennsylvania Game Commission. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  5. ^ "Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania, Fallen Officers". The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP). Retrieved 5 March 2015.

External links[edit]