Evidently, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is even more dependable than the U.S. Postal Service when it comes to neither snow, nor sleet preventing appointed rounds when comes to presenting the agency's Deer Management Open House Program.
For the fourth consecutive year, PGC personnel has been on the road since late February presenting its DMOHP, which concludes in the Southeast Region, Saturday, April 10, at the American Legion in Frackville. Before that, however, the Northeast Region DMOHP that had been postponed in February because of inclement weather has been rescheduled for Sunday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center, 126 PPL Drive, Hawley.
DMOHP presentations are used by the PGC as an interactive public outreach tool that employs multimedia presentations, exhibits and wildlife managers to bring all aspects of deer management to hunters, farmers and others whose lives are influenced by deer. According to agency executive director Carl Roe the presentations emphasize bringing what is seen as a powerful communications and educational tool to residents as a means to further the general public's understanding of deer and deer management that is bolstered by having agency employees on hand to engage participants who attend the open houses.
DMOHP provide PGC personnel a means to cover wide-ranging topics through specialized stations set up in a large hall. Stations are spaced out so attendees can ask question and make comments to station attendants in a one-on-one exchange without interruptions and with the expectation of getting answers immediately.
"These programs provide the opportunity to interact with a deer biologist, State Game Land manager or forester," Roe said. "Our goal is to reach out to Pennsylvanians, both figuratively and literally, and we hope that every person who attends an open house can better identify with our deer management program upon leaving."
These DMOHP presentations and the outreach information available were developed by a Deer Communications Working Group, which was created in 2007 to improve the efforts of the PGC to explain deer management – and the need for it – to Pennsylvanians. At the same time, attendees have the opportunity to comment on the agency's deer-management plan.
"Our Deer Communications Working Group has made tremendous progress in bringing the public up to speed on how and why we manage deer," Roe said. "It meets regularly and has developed displays, brochures, a new video and whitetail Web site, employee training and many other tools to help in the never-ending effort of explaining deer management to both the public and fellow employees, but for all that has been accomplished in recent years, there is still much, much more to do."
In a further effort to reach more people with these presentations, a two-part video clip is available on the agency's updated Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us  that provides a virtual tour of the open house display. To view the clips, which have a running time of 13 minutes and 16 seconds, click on "Deer Open House" icon underneath the large photo in the center of the homepage and the links to the two video clips.
Roe said the DMOHP is specifically designed to address the following topics:
Goals that Direct the Deer Program – Outlining the five goals of the deer-management program; Management Goals are a Product of Public Input – Focuses on the participating stakeholders who were involved in developing the current deer plan goals; Where do you hunt? – Helps hunters take a critical look at the characteristics of habitat through visual representation; Deer Necessities Identifies the preferences that guide deer in selecting habitat; Habitat Variability – Focuses on how habitat health is rated differently from one Wildlife Management Unit to another; Telemetry Study – Sheds light on the dispersal of young male deer; Deer Aging – Allows participants to learn how deer are aged through tooth wear; Deer Management DVD – Nonstop presentation of the agency's recently-produced deer management DVD, free copies of which will be available to open house visitors.
For more information about the agency's deer management program, including a complete selection of the brochures being distributed at the open houses, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us ) and click on "White-Tailed Deer" in the center of the homepage. This website features links to all of the brochures used in the open houses, all issues of the agency's "Deer Chronicle," many top-notch references to agency research and general information, deer photos and even an "Ask The Deer Biologist" section.
For more information about the PGC deer-management program, including a complete selection of the brochures being distributed at the open houses, visit the agency Web site listed previously and click on "White-Tailed Deer" in the center of the homepage. Links are provided to all of the brochures used in the DMOHP presentations, all issues of the agency's "Deer Chronicle" and an "Ask The Deer Biologist" section.