Share This Page

More changes to deer seasons could be in the making

| Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Pennsylvania's deer hunters have seen a lot of changes in the past decade. More may yet come.

Pennsylvania Game Commissioners held a working group meeting in Harrisburg this past week to talk about seasons and bag limits for 2013-14. No decisions were made; it was a chance for commissioners and staff to float ideas and talk about what-ifs.

One idea centered on opening the firearms deer season — which traditionally starts the Monday after Thanksgiving — on a Saturday instead.

The commission moved opening day of bear season to a Saturday a few years ago. That was heresy to some initially but has since become very popular, said commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County.

With so much emphasis on recruiting and retaining hunters now, at a time when surveys reveal a lack of time is what most often keeps hunters out of the woods, could a Saturday opener for deer likewise be a good idea, he wondered?

“It might be something we want to talk about. I'm not sure we want to do it. But I think we want to discuss it,” Putnam said.

Commission president Ralph Martone of New Castle, a teacher by trade, said school districts under pressure to meet state standards are increasingly going away from giving students the Monday opener off. That's another reason why a Saturday opener might make sense, he said.

Any such change might come with tradeoffs, though, said commission executive director Carl Roe. The season might have to be shortened by a few days to account for the extra harvest likely to occur on a Saturday, he said.

Cal DuBrock, director of the bureau of wildlife management, could not say what impact a Saturday opener might have, but commissioners have asked him to investigate the idea and report back.

Meanwhile, Martone asked staff to investigate the ramifications of adding a week to the archery deer season.

That idea worries some. In the early 1990s, the archery kill represented about 5 percent of the total deer harvest. Now it's about 25 percent, according to commission figures. Giving archers more time — and allowing them to take more bucks in particular, given that archery season would extend into the rut — could turn off rifle hunters who may only get out one or two days a year, but who make up a large percentage of license buyers, said commissioner Ron Weaner of Adams County.

“I don't think disenfranchising them is the way to go,” Weaner said.

Martone, though, said archers aren't killing too many deer. They account for one-third of all licenses sold and are harvesting about one third of the deer. “I think that's fair,” he said.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bfrye@tribweb.com or 724-838-5148.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.