Law-abiding citizens lose with AAOA rules
To the editor: Northumberland County has enacted an ordinance that, in my opinion, is directed only at law-abiding people.
Why do I say this? Because on Friday, while hunting on the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) land (I have been granted access by a judge while my lawsuit against the county continues), I witnessed more than 15 individuals driving ATVs, side-by-sides and trucks with trailers on the property in violation of the ordinance. I was there less than two hours; if I'd been around all day, who knows how many violators I would have observed.
The ATVs I saw had no DCNR tags and the trucks were parked in an area that is posted "no trespassing." Also, all the ATVs I saw traveled from the AOAA across Route 125 onto posted private property. Not the law-abiding type.
The ordinance says that all other activities on AOAA land are prohibited between the beginning of black bear archery season (typically mid-November), and continuing through the end of deer archery season (typically end of January) as determined by the Pennsylvania Game Commission calendar.
The ordinance also says violators could face a fine of up to $600. At that rate, paying someone to patrol the land would have paid for itself.
I, or just about anyone who has been using this land regularly for the last decade, can tell you that on any three- or four-day holiday weekend, the property is inundated with traffic. It's the perfect time to patrol, yet from early- to mid-afternoon, I didn't see any. I have been hunting there several times each week and have never seen anyone patrolling, and haven't read of any arrests in the local newspaper.
I will say that traffic on the AOAA is way down, but this I attribute to law-abiding people staying off the property.
The county has, in my opinion, enacted an ordinance without the resources or the desire to enforce it. Law-abiding folks get the shaft and outlaws get 6,500 acres to do with whatever they want.
By the way, why is the NRA Hunters Rights website (www.nrahuntersrights.org/media/docs/AOAApolicy.pdf ) the only place I could find the ordinance? Why is it not on the AOAA site or the county site?