Three years later, many PA deer hunters say they “hate” Saturday’s knife [column] | Outdoors

Pennsylvania deer hunter Richard Williams has not warned that he refers to the transfer of deer firearms season from Monday after Thanksgiving to Saturday in between, back in 2019.

“I hate the Sabbath,” Williams wrote in an email. “It ruined my deer camp tradition …

“I hate the Sabbath because it makes Thanksgiving less enjoyable …

“I hate the subbotnik because now I need to hunt alone and I have no one to share my experience with or ask anyone for help when I get it.”

Williams was one of 170 hunters who answered my call two weeks ago to comment on the postponement of the opening of the Pennsylvania deer season, now that we’ve all had three years to experience it.

It was a voluntary survey that anyone could answer.

I understand that human nature primarily encourages those who view the situation negatively to respond to such surveys.

But I also know that it is unfair to just fire these people because they have a negative view and have decided to turn.

They are real hunters with real opinions.

They buy the same hunting licenses I buy.

Of the 170 hunters I heard from, 128 joined Williams in speaking out against postponing the opening day to Monday after Thanksgiving.

Another 38 hunters said they liked the new subbotnik, while four respondents were neutral.

When in 2019 the State Game Commission put forward the idea of ​​moving the opener, they heard from many hunters. The majority opposed the move.

Other hunters said they think the opening of the season on Saturday will provide more hunting opportunities for students, people with busy schedules and the like.

The Council of Game Commissioners has caught up with the latest considerations in hopes of boosting the sale of hunting licenses.

Undoubtedly, we see an increase in such sales, where until 2019 there was a steady decline.

From 2013 to 2018, the total sales of hunting licenses annually decreased from 946,989 in 2013 to 855,486 in 2018.

In 2019 – the first year with a community work day – sales rose to 860,743. In 2020, their number rose to 887,221, but it was the year of the pandemic, when any outdoor activity led to an explosion.

Representatives of the Games Commission view 2020 as an anomaly rather than part of a trend.

Sales so far this year lag behind 2020, but they are ahead of 2019.

Is the positive trend due to Saturday’s opening of the deer?

Adam Driscoll loves the opening weekend, which has included Sunday hunting for the past two years.

“I hope it never comes back until Monday,” Driscoll wrote. “It gave me two extra days to hunt without extra rest.

“My boy who doesn’t get a vacation … has to hunt for two days this year.”

Chad Hermer said the new opener is perfect for people with busy jobs.

“I will take a community work day and Sunday hunt for those of us who work five days a week,” he said.

Among the hunters who responded to my call to express an opinion, the vast majority of those who opposed the subbotnik were over 50 years old and hunted from mountain camps.

And those hunters are adamant that Saturday’s start tarnished the once sacred tradition of the pre-season deer camp.

“I own a camp in western Clinton County,” Pete Kingsley wrote. “I and most of the camp owners hate the subbotnik.

Drive about 200 miles on Thanksgiving or Friday morning to prepare a cold camp for a dozen or so hunters, hold a little chat, etc.

“It’s time to go to bed to get to the hunting ground the next morning. We all miss the Saturday and Sunday camp scholarships we have been doing for the last 50 years. ”

Harrison Mayer is an elderly hunter in mountain camps who said he was “thrilled with the new opportunity” for Saturday’s 2019 launch.

“Now, after the third year, our hunting camp seems to have dissolved, as some only hunt during the day … and the same experience of spending time together with good conversations has disappeared,” he wrote.

“I and the other participants of the camp miss the old tradition.”

Zach Scheiner sees the same loss.

“Everyone came on Friday or Saturday – you had a chance to catch up with the guys you may not have seen from the last deer camp,” he wrote.

“You need to cut firewood, do a little maintenance, shoot a gun, maybe drink beer. Everything that is now gone…

“The opening of the weekend is the last nail in the coffin of one of the greatest hunting traditions in Pennsylvania …”

While many hunters who responded in favor of the subbotnik said they see it providing more opportunities for children, hunters such as Steve Sigrist see the change as a loss for the same children.

“Hurry, hurry,” he wrote.

“What used to be a relaxing holiday with family and friends has now become a big fog … I don’t know what our 10-year-old hunter with mentors thought. We tried not to get lost in a hurry …

“If it was important to hunt on Monday, you saved a day or two of vacation. When you were a student, you did well in school, so you were allowed to take a day or two off.

“But we live in a Burger King society. We want it to be our own way. And at the same time we lose a lot. “

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