Earlier start to rifle deer season is right move by Pa. Game Commission

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, demonstrating that it does listen to hunters throughout the commonwealth, on Tuesday approved the expansion of the state’s rifle deer season by one day — in this case, a Saturday that gives hunters an extra weekend day to pursue a buck.

This move is not to be confused with Sunday hunting, which the Game Commission is on record as favoring, but can not act on without permission from the state legislature.

Some were opposed to the additional hunting day, and that’s reflected in the commission’s close vote — 5 to 3 — to approve the modified start to deer season, which this year will be Saturday, Nov. 30, rather than two days later.

At least one commissioner would rather have seen the start just a day earlier — which again would require approval in the state house.

Deer population is not an issue in the state, according to the commission’s harvest figures. Hunters have taken more than a quarter million deer annually over the past two decades, with roughly the same number hitting a buck since antler restrictions were put in place in 2002.

We expect a higher turnout in the woods for opening day — and hope safety will be an overriding factor — and perhaps a bigger entry pool for our own Big Buck Contest.

Deer season is a tradition in this part of the state that brings families, with school closures expected and businesses closing or offering liberal vacation time so hunters young and old can fill the freezer while chasing their trophy. Hunters from more metropolitan areas do not have this luxury.

The Saturday start will open Penn’s Woods to more.

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