ISBURG, Pa. -- As the Pennsylvania Game Commission named a new deputy executive director and detailed antlerless deer licenses online, talk continued on when to open deer season.
“Are there benefits to the Saturday opener?” asked the Game Commission in a recent statement on the topic. “Yes, absolutely.”
The Game Commission in 2019 moved the opening of deer rifle season from the Monday after Thanksgiving to the Saturday following the holiday. It was done so, it said, to reverse declining license sales critical to funding wildlife management programs.
“We found that some deactivated hunters came back, not only because of the Saturday opener, but because of Sunday hunt also.”
The Game Commission move comes at a time when many debate a preference – because many hunters work on Monday, start the season on Saturday after thanksgiving, versus open on Monday because starting on Saturday hurts businesses open for weekend holiday shopping.
In an informal poll here: some 102,000 people followed a report stating a state lawmaker wants to permanently make opening day on the Monday after Thanksgiving. More than 60 reader comments displayed arguments pro and con for a Saturday start.
“Keep Saturday start,” commented one reader. “I went several years not being able to hunt the first day of antlered season due to a work conflict. Everyone can’t take off work the same day. I believe more working participants have Saturday off vs. Monday.”
Added another: “Most people work on Monday. Keep it Saturday.”
The majority of replies to the issue favored a Saturday opening day, but still some argued in favor of Monday.
“Why are they changing tradition?” commented one person. “Put it back to Monday. It gives my family time to get together and spend some quality time with each other over the weekend. Then there’s time to travel to camp and get ready for Monday hunting. I know I’m in the minority here but I’m just giving you my thoughts, just like everyone else.”
As debate was chronicled, the Game Commission announced a new feature which allows antlerless permits to be purchased online.
“We really just don’t know what the buying habits will be,” said the Game Commission in a statement. “A lot of the communications that we will be sending to hunters, we don’t want to direct them to what to do, but we want to try and tell them not everybody has to hit the system at 8 a.m. the first day.”
Hunters can contact the Game Commission at its website for more information.
In other action, the Game Commission named Deana Vance as deputy executive director, replacing the retiring Thomas P. Grohol. Vance had been director of the Bureau of Automated Technology Services.
“Deana has a passion for hunting and wildlife conservation, and everything she’s done in her career has revolved around those things,” stated the Game Commission in an announcement. “She’s a real leader.”
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