Case About Opposition to Hunting Deer In Pennsylvania

In Lehman v. Pa. Game Comm'n, 34 Pa. D. & C. 662, 52 York Leg. Rec. 141 (C.P. Dauphin 1938), a group of hunters challenged a Game Commission resolution that established an open season for the hunting and killing of antlerless deer for a six-day period so as to reduce the size of the Commonwealth's deer herd. After the close of the pleadings, two days of hearings, submission of briefs addressing the merits of the claims and oral argument, the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas sitting as the Commonwealth Court issued an adjudication in which it rejected the hunters' challenge. The Court stated: There appears, without contradiction, to have been careful, expert, and scientific performance by the Commission of its duty as an agency of the Commonwealth to protect, propagate, manage, and preserve the game of the Commonwealth in accordance with its laws. ... The proper management of the deer herd depends upon the duly-ascertained findings of expert biologists and is a matter of scientific investigation and conclusion which cannot be arrived at by any general law. The opinion of the Commission, after such due investigation as the evidence shows was made, is a fact, which, when evidenced by the Commission's resolution, becomes the basis for the application of the provisions of the law by the resolution involved in this case. We are unable to reach the conclusion urged on the part of the hunters that the fixing of the open season, as was done by the Commission, for antlerless deer, is unconstitutional or obnoxious, or open to any valid objection. It is not clear what rights any of the hunters have which can or should be protected by the injunction prayed for. The result of the Commission's action is to enlarge the privilege of every licensee. Practically, the hunters are asking that it be curtailed, at least in some of the counties, because in their opinion the conclusion of the Commission, after full investigation, and with the concurrence and approval of the organized sportsmen of the State, is not to their liking. The police regulation and management of public property must necessarily be lodged in some administrative agency, subject only to the general limitations fixed by the representatives of the people. The wisdom of the regulations may not be attacked and reviewed in such manner as is attempted by the hunters without showing some material disregard of the limitations, or some abuse of discretion, arbitrary or capricious. The whole record in this case fails to show any such vital defects. There is nothing to indicate that the hunters or any of them are or can be damaged by the action of the Commission complained of. Id. at 669-70, 671-72.