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Out With the Old, In With the New

Change is difficult no matter how you look at it! People by nature are habitual and don’t adapt well to change. Take any new change in your daily life and there will be some sort of struggle. Most people I know want normalcy in their daily lives and resist change.

When it comes to the hunting tradition in Pennsylvania, some hunters really struggle with change and others just go with the flow. The 2019 regulations for hunting changes quite a bit. There was a new early muzzleloader bear season which was extremely successful with a bear harvest over 1,300. There was a bill presented about Sunday hunting that recently passed and will be in effect for 2020. But the most talked-about change was the movement of the opening day of the Pennsylvania Rifle season. The first day was moved to the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and this angered many hunters.

From the time the opening day was changed and even as I am writing this, many people are still upset about the change. Since 1963, PA hunters would hunt the rifle season on the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Many families would celebrate Thanksgiving and then leave for their hunting camps and prepare for the Monday opener. This was a time for them to see family and friends and spend time together at camp. This was a huge tradition many didn’t want to see come to an end.

The proposed change to the Pennsylvania opener caught people off guard. Why change a good thing? Looking at some of the data behind license sales and dropping numbers of hunters the commission decided to act. The commission felt that moving the opener would allow more people to participate in hunting. Those numbers are yet to be seen but I believe this could be true.

For me personally, I really didn’t care about the movement of the opener. I love to hunt and felt it was an interesting move. Both of my children tagged out during archery season so it was just me heading out for the Saturday opener.

The Saturday opener seemed like any other typical opener to me. I heard plenty of shooting and I saw plenty of deer. I was not lucky enough to see a legal buck but I had a blast and looked forward to heading out on Monday.

That evening I spent some time checking out success people had on the first Saturday opener. I was not surprised to see people with negative comments and how they were unhappy. What was there to be upset about?

Matt Shaffer with a successful Saturday opener buck!

Apparently, we have many hunters who don’t want an extra day to hunt, especially on a Saturday. I am not so sure I agree with them. Personally, I had a great first weekend of deer hunting. The only thing that would have made it better was to have Sunday open for hunting.

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