Pennsylvania continues to target poachers by increasing penalties and fines with House Bill 1859 sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Ed Staback (D-Lackawanna) being signed into law last week, which goes into effect within 60 days.

"Increasing penalties for serious violations is one of the operational objectives within the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Strategic Plan, and we welcome enactment of House Bill 1859," PGC executive director Carl Roe said. "This marks the first comprehensive piece of legislation to increase Game and Wildlife Code penalties since 1987, and we believe it will significantly enhance wildlife protection in the Commonwealth.

"There is widespread public support for increasing in fines and penalties as indicated by surveys that showed 96 percent of Pennsylvania's citizens feel that wildlife protection is a vitally important function. Most often, poaching today is committed by criminals driving $30,000 vehicles, using expensive night-vision technology, illegal silencers and firearms.

"Most commonly, the causes are simply greed, obsessive behavior in collecting antlers; in some cases poachers take great pride in their infamous status in local communities. A disturbing and increasingly common cause is killing simply for thrill with no intention of making use of any part of the animal."

House Bill 1859 passed the House by a 196-3 vote June 21, and was unanimously approved July 3 by the Senate. After a concurrence vote of 189-6 July 3 in the House, it was sent to Gov. Ed Rendell, who signed it into law.

Today's guest of Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on "Experience the Outdoors," from 7:30-8 a.m. on Oldies 1410-AM is master gunmaker and engraver Greg Dixon. A rebroadcast will be heard Sunday from 9:30-10 a.m. on WMGH, 105.5-FM, and is available on the Web at www.wmgh.com http://www.wmgh.com/ by clicking on the "Experience the Outdoors" link.

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A 3-D course is open for public use from dawn to dusk at Bear's Head Sportsmen's Association, Delano, located off Exit 134 of Interstate 81, daily through Saturday, Oct. 23. Donations are accepted and for information call the clubhouse at 570-467-0331 or e-mail docblazer@verizon.net .

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A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, July 22, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail jafone@comcast.net.

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This year's "Gunmakers Fair" will be held Friday-Sunday, July 23-25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily, at Dixon Muzzleloader Shop, 9952 Kunkel's Mill Road, Kempton. For seminar schedule and information, access on the Web at www.dixonmuzzleloading.com http://www.dixonmuzzleloading.com/ or call the shop at 610-756-6271.

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Schuylkill Trout Unlimited will hold a pig roast, Saturday, July 24, from 2-7 p.m., at Bulls Head Road, Pottsville. For reservations, call Bruce Schneck at 717-647-4362 or Randy Emerich at 570-622 1252.

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Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited meets Tuesday, July 27, beginning at 7 p.m., at Yorkville Fire Company, South 20th and West Norwegian Sts., Pottsville. For information, call Randy Emerich at 570-622-1252 or access on the Web at www.schuylkilltu.org .

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A free youth trap shoot will be held Saturday, July 31, beginning at noon, at Phoenix Park Rod and Gun near Minersville. Competition will be held for ages 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-16 For required pre-registration by Wednesday, July 28, call Bob Hendricks at 570-544-3068 or Joe Carvajal at 570-544-9523.

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Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation meets, Thursday, Aug. 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at West Penn Archery, South Tamaqua. For information, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.

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First Frontier Militia, the muzzleloader arm of Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, will hold muzzleloader shoots on the following dates: Sunday, Aug. 6, Sept. 12, Oct. 9 and 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club is located on Gun Club Road, off Route 248, Bowmanstown. For information, call Roger Fisher at 610-377-2812.

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This year's Empire State Lake Ontario Fall Tournament will be held from Friday, Aug. 20, through Monday, Sept. 6. For information and registration, access on the Web at www.loc.org http://www.loc.org/ or call (888) 733-5246.

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This year's "Lehigh Valley Hunting and Fishing Extravaganza" will be held Friday-Sunday, Aug. 27-29, at Kempton Fairground. For information, contact Bob Danenhower at 610-398-7609 and bobstaxidermy@ptd.net mailto:bobstaxidermy@ptd.net or Rick Weaknecht at 610-683-7405 and pahunter2005@hotmail.com

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Columbia County Open Buddy Bass Tournament, Sunday, Aug. 29, Susquehanna River, Shickshinny; Sept. 19, Susquehanna River, Danville; Nov. 7, Williamsport Linden Access Area; 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, call tournament director Mike Monico at (570) 752-3223.

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This year's "Pennsylvania Bowhunters Festival" will be held Friday-Sunday, Sept. 17-19, at Sullivan County Fairground, Forksville, beginning daily at 6 a.m.. For information, call Bill Feese at 570-525-3635, e-mail info@pabowhunters.com mailto:info@pabowhunters.com or access on the Web at www.pabowhunters.com .

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This year's "Hawk Mountain Wildlife Art Show" will be held Saturday and Sunday, Sept 25 and 26, at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton. For information call the visitor center at 610-756-6961.

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This year's "Schuylkill County Friends of NRA Banquet" will be held Thursday, Sept. 30, beginning at 5 p.m., at the Schuylkill Mall. For additional information or reservations, call Mike McCord at 570-628-1382.