There's a youth movement afoot among Pennsylvania's deer-hunting fraternity. That's according to the results of a questionnaire on deer hunting and hunter preferences that was sent to 5,892 randomly selected state hunters.
Interestingly enough, younger hunters have become the most successful and willing to adopt new technologies and hunting practices.
The survey asked such questions as how and where deer hunters hunted and if they supported or opposed the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management practices.
"Hunters returned 3,572 surveys, which resulted in a response rate of 61 percent," said Carl G. Roe, game commission executive director. "We were pleased with hunter participation in the survey."
Among the findings were:
* Hunters between the ages of 18 and 39 were the most successful.
* The average deer hunter in Pennsylvania is 47 years old.
* He or she has been hunting for 29 years.
* Only 19 percent used trail cameras.
* More than 80 percent hunted on private ground.
Younger gunners were more apt to hunt from tree stands, participate in more deer drives and, as a whole, were satisfied with how many deer they saw.
Considering the complaints we've heard and reported on over the past few years pertaining to the size of the deer herd, that last item might surprise some outdoors enthusiasts.
As for the 2,000 hunters who chose not to reply, they have no right to complain when the game commission changes its rules or regulations - because they were too lazy to respond.
Surveys are one of the tools the game commission uses to judge hunter satisfaction with its performance, and to gather suggestions on improvements to its programs.
"These surveys give us a chance to hear from hunters who aren't likely to come to a board of game commissioners meeting or to write a detailed letter or email to tell us how they feel about deer hunting," Roe said.
We applaud the commission for going the extra step and reaching out.
- The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat