SATURDAY OPENER
By Blaine Toy

 

I have received several letters regarding this issue, so far all against Saturday opener and none in support of it.   Below are copies of those letters:

 

Saturday Opener

By Jim Collins

 

Hello; 2-1 margin is the same as the 67% needed to impeach and remove from office any elected official. Consider that thought for a while. If the PGC goes ahead anyway with this change in opening day, it shows absolute lack of understanding us hunters. I cannot imagine the PGC BOC going against hunters who expressed their preference for keeping the current Monday opening day. If they do, consider the future of our hunting sport. That is why hiking and biking along with woodchuck hunting remain my favorite pastimes.

 

Saturday Opener # 1

By Greg Levengood

 

The letter below from a non-resident hunter points to another issue which you seemed to have over-looked in your zeal to change opening day of Buck Season from the traditional Monday after Thanksgiving. While there is ABSOLUTELY NO SUPPORTING DATA to back up your proposal other than your favorite catch-word - "anecdotal evidence"......in your zeal to ram this proposal down the throats of Pennsylvania sportsmen you have seriously miscalculated the impact this could have on non-resident hunters.

In 2017-18 the revenue from resident hunting license sales was $13.6 million, which represented 13% of your revenue. During that same time period non-resident hunting license sales generated $4.8 million or 4% of your revenue. For an agency that's forever crying poverty, I would bet that you never even considered the potential revenue loss from NR license sales if this proposal is passed. As difficult as it would be for resident hunters to balance the family obligations of Thanksgiving with a Saturday opening day, it would be exponentially more difficult for non-residents to do so.

For an organization that ad-naseum stands behind "science" as the basis of your decision-making, it seems to me there should be a cost-benefit analysis to determine how much of that $4.8 million in revenue could be jeopardized by such a reckless move, compared to the additional license sales you hope to gain by bringing casual hunters back into the fold. I would add that even if these casual hunters do buy a license because it is now "convenient" for them to hunt on a Saturday, it will not be long before they realize that giving up all the other "priorities" in their life is not worth spending a day in the woods and not seeing anything.....

 

"I’ve hunted in Pennsylvania for 62 years and missed only one year due to travel. I missed many opening days of buck season due to school and work requirements, but that didn’t deter me. In life one does what is required at the moment and not what is convenient.


Things I’ve read and heard recently about hunting are discouraging. Hunting opportunities and the hunting environment far outweigh hunting license sales. While the general interest in hunting is declining, it’s more likely that Pennsylvania Game Commission decisions have had a greater effect on license sales. I’ve never encountered the complacency that hunters now display due to a feeling of non-control over commission decisions.

 

Going to a Saturday opening for the deer rifle season will surely result in fewer license sales due to the proximity of Thanksgiving and the constraints it puts on travel. If what I’ve heard is accurate, the majority opinion of game commissioners does not reflect the majority opinion of hunters.

 

Allowing hunting on Sunday also bothers me, and it will certainly bother those who are non-hunters.

 

Instead of increased license sales, the commission should be focused on the real needs of hunters.

 

Robert Uhrin Mendham, N.J."

 

Saturday Opener # 2

By Greg Levengood

Letter to Editor Woods & Waters

Dear Commissioner Daley

After reading the article in Pennsylvania Outdoor News that suggested a change in the Buck Season Opener, I decided to wait a few days to comment on it or I would probably say some things I would regret. Since you seem to be the driving force behind this movement, I will direct most of my comments to you.

For the members of our Potter County hunting camp, the three days between Thanksgiving and opening day are the best days of the year – we’re like kids before Christmas. Buck Season is the crown jewel of the hunting calendar, and the sweet anticipation of opening morning that envelops us during those three days is something that is shared by thousands of camp owners across Pennsylvania.

With that said, many years the anticipation surpasses the realization when opening day turns into a bust because of the weather, lack of deer sightings, or some other factor. But NOTHING can detract from the joy of traveling to the mountains on Friday morning, and savoring those three days at camp preparing for the #1 day of the year.

I don’t understand the ambivalence that you and some of your fellow commissioners have toward hunters and what they want – or in this case what they don’t want. Commissioner Foradora went as far to say: “People in deer camps in the northcentral region will probably oppose any change, but that’s not our future. The kids are our future.”

Thanx for that hand full of sand in the face Commissioner Foradora……strange comment coming from a man who is surrounded by camp owners in Clearfield County. You are biting the hands of the very people who have funded and supported the Agency for decades. Unlike the new hunters of today who need everything handed to them or made easy just to get them to participate, your older hunters will continue to hunt and buy licenses until they throw dirt on us!!

I am also totally baffled by your comment, “There’s not a reasonable argument to keep it a Monday opener……I guess what I come back to is, why wouldn’t we do it?” Is Tradition not a reasonable argument? The fact that anyone born since 1951 has never known anything but an opening day on the Monday after Thanksgiving? This is one of the very few hunting traditions we have left. Why would you even consider touching such a sacred Pennsylvania tradition – one of the few things about Pennsylvania hunting that isn’t broken….????

But aside from the emotional side of this issue – and lots of people are very emotional about it…..how can you disregard the 2014 and 2017 PGC surveys that specifically asked hunters about changing opening day? The respondents rejected this by a 2 to 1 margin!!

Commissioner Hoover was most insightful when he said that it will come down to what legislators have to say. In the world of a legislator a 2 to 1 margin is known as a landslide, and any legislator who values self-preservation would never support anything that is opposed by 67% of their constituents.

And lastly, can we please dispel the myth that people don’t hunt today because they don’t have time. Seems to me that we have the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, etc. that we had 50 years ago. In fact, deer season today is longer than it’s ever been! Not including the winter Flintlock Season, this year you could hunt deer on 62 days and 11 Saturdays. We don’t have a time issue – we have a PRIORITY issue! People have time for whatever is important to them. Your own 2017 Deer Hunting Survey said as much, stating that only 20% of those surveys didn’t hunt because of lack of time, but 19% stated it was a lack of deer sightings, and 14% said it was a lack of places to hunt. Funny how we don’t hear anything about increasing the size of the deer herd – even though it was only 1% behind those people who think they don’t have time..…yet you feel compelled to destroy a 55-year tradition.

I implore you to reconsider this initiative and focus your energies on the many things within your reach that really need attention, and don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. Thank you.

Greg Levengood
Boyertown, PA

 

Saturday Opener

By Randy Santucci

 

Moving the traditional Monday opener for the rifle deer season, as preliminarily approved by the Pennsylvania Game Commission has negative ramifications that far outweigh the unsubstantiated theory that a weekend opener will improve opportunity. Hunters voted it down 2:1 in a 2017 survey. The concept at face value seems plausible until you dig down into all aspects that this change will affect. Camp hunting unquestionably will suffer, but after compiling this information, I was surprised just how much conflict will be created for non-camp hunters. The following bullet points are divided into several categories. Some points have extremely strong merit and some lesser, yet all factual. Cumulatively they paint a very clear and strong argument against a Saturday deer opener.


Category 1 Thanksgiving Day conflict and Black Friday


  • Thanksgiving Day is the number one travel holiday of the year. Many sportsmen travel to their family's home for dinner or have family travel to their home for dinner. The Friday after Thanksgiving is often the day family is still visiting as it should be, and possibly departing. Either way Friday is now conflicted with hunting preparation or travel to a camp for the Saturday pre-daylight opener.

  • Many marriages over the past few decades end up in divorce. Many children have to visit at least two households to share Thanksgiving dinner with both parents. Depending upon the distance between these households, often the Thanksgiving visits spills over into Friday. I have experienced this personally. Do you rush your loved ones out the door because you need to prepare to hunt or drive to deer camp? Certainly not, and the Saturday opener will take a back seat.

  • Any family Thanksgiving travel makes Friday questionable, if air travel is involved it makes it impossible.

  • Black Friday and Saturday are the two biggest retail shopping days of the year. Some sportsmen and sportswomen shop with their spouse, (by choice or necessity) often purchasing big ticket items, toys or whatever is needed for their children's Christmas presents. One or both days are consumed, so hunt preparation or travel is now difficult if not impossible.

  • Some sportsmen or sportswomen will now need to weigh hunting against the biggest shopping days of the year.

  • Saturday college football is often attended at many colleges all over the state by hunters of all ages, for instance Penn State seats 100,000 people, this one aspect is a direct conflict with a Saturday opener.

  • Other conflicts of this weekend include Basketball Tournaments, Wrestling tournaments, Parades, Seasonal employment, and other activities and traditions that played out on this weekend are numerous, negatively effecting the family unit implementing a Saturday opener.

  • Some sportsmen work the Friday after thanksgiving. Some businesses require working the day before and day after holidays to get holiday pay. This could now cause the use of a vacation day to be able to prepare and/or allow enough time to travel to a hunting camp, rather than using that vacation day to hunt Monday or Tuesday.

  • Because of the enormity of the shopping phenomena some must work Friday and Saturday if their job is linked to retail, taking off is not permitted.


Deer processors used that weekend to shift gears after the holiday to prepare their butcher shops for the upcoming busy opening Monday.

 

Category 2: Rural Economic Business Impact


  • With hunters able to have perhaps Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday to get to deer camp, they stopped at many businesses on the way and spent money. Particularly sporting goods or gun shops, countless stores like food, convenience, fuel, the list is endless depending upon what specific item or service is needed on the way to camp. Rushing to camp Friday or Friday evening will severely impact this big economic weekend for rural stores. Saturday opener takes away the “Black Friday” type sales boost from this weekend in rural areas on routes where many sportsmen travel to hunting camps. The sales mentioned that are attached to sporting goods have a double jeopardy aspect negatively effecting Pittman Robertson taxes passed back to the PGC.

  • The Saturday and Sunday before the Monday opener also causes a boost to any businesses in close proximity to camps. As the weekend unfolds, any problem that arise causes visits to service-related retailers. Hardware, lumber yards, Restaurants, on and on. Non-profits, and churches that have hunter breakfasts, raffles and other money raising benefits taking advantage of this weekend when sportsmen are concentrated in these rural towns.

  • As Tina Johns Solak a few years back was The Director of The Cameron County Chamber of Commerce told me: “Our population doubles from deer hunters traveling here to hunting camp”

  • The Saturday after Thanksgiving is National Small Business Saturday. The negative impacts in the most vulnerable of small businesses, the rural small businesses MUST be recognized.


Category 3 Camp Traditions, Activities, Fellowship and Safety

  • The following bullet points identify a myriad of issues that collectively identify the time, money, trials and tribulations, traditions that camp owners, and hunters from those camps, participate in together creating the unique over half century tradition of Pennsylvania Deer Camp.

 

  • A Saturday opener eliminates any possibility of pre-hunt scouting which is a big part of the camp hunt. Hunters need and enjoy this time in the woods to refamiliarize themselves with the terrain, it is a big part of the hunt. or Treestands may need set up, moved and/or checked for safety. Hunters will need to rush to camp Friday (or in the dark Friday evening after work or family conflicts) and have no time to scout and enjoyably prepare for a hunt. When something becomes more stressful it does not encourage participation, just the opposite.

 

  • If a new hunter is brought to camp, there is no time to familiarize this newbie to the surroundings. Bringing a new hunter into a big woods area, arriving after dark and going out pre-daylight is unsafe and frankly forces irresponsibility upon the mentor bringing this hunter aboard. Emergency services in big woods counties train regularly for lost hunter situations, a lost hunter in freezing conditions is damn serious. A young hunter that is fearful or not comfortable hunting in this circumstance will likely not hunt again.

  • Often camp hunters will get together Saturday and Sunday and take a few shots with their rifles to insure they are still “on” after travel or in some cases have not been fired since the prior year's hunt. This ‘sighting in’ ritual is an enjoyable activity is filled with good natured needling and camaraderie combined with this useful function.

  • Saturday scouting is often followed by watching College football by some members, or visiting neighboring camps whom have not been seen for some time.

  • Opening camp can encompass many duties. Heat, water, snow removal, and other amenities need started up. Any of these things could have a problem in which now Saturday and/or Sunday gives time for repairs before Monday opener. Getting a stone-cold camp warm takes a half day or more. What does a camp owner do now forced to arrive Friday possibly after dark due to Thanksgiving, work, Black Friday or family conflicts? Opening a camp after dark in freezing conditions, carrying in equipment and groceries, pulling everything together and be up at 5AM to hunt takes a traditional labor of love, and turns it into a rushed stress filled pain in the ass.

  • Each camp carries its own traditions, we do a big Saturday night campfire. We cook dove breasts my brother brings from South Carolina, we fry Walleye I catch from Erie and our family has several hours of fellowship discussing many topics from loved ones that have passed to strategies for the Monday hunt and everything in between. As the commercial says “PRICELESS”!

  • Hunters particularly the younger ones enjoy spotlighting prior to the Monday opener. It builds excitement seeing deer in the area. Spotlighting is illegal after opening day so the time previously spent over the weekend to spot is gone.

  • Youth hunters getting off school adds a special degree of importance on hunting. Mom and Dad usually frowned on missing school, but somehow hunting was ok? The experience and family camaraderie was a field trip of many benefits and parents knew it. Getting off school added additional excitement, show me a kid that does not get excited missing a day of school especially if mom and dad support it....

  • Tradition is still strong, hunters voted two to one in surveys to keep the opener the same. 

Category 4: Hunting Seasons

 

  • The Pennsylvania Game commission recently boasted that although all hunting is in decline, Pennsylvania has declined slower than surrounding states. Surrounding states all have a Saturday opener in part due to nowhere near the camp aspect to consider. If we are declining slower than them.....“If it isn’t broke don't fix it"
  • Out of State hunters that hunted their Saturday opener (like NY) would buy an out of state license to enjoy a second opening day on Monday in Pa. I suspect those license sales and dollars will leave.

  • Pennsylvania has an abundance of opportunity to hunt deer. Special early hunts for youth, seniors, military, and handicapped. Seasons run from as early as mid-September in some areas to mid-January. Does anyone really believe moving the opener back to Saturday and all the conflicts that it will create, the traditions it will kill, and the hardships it will create with camp hunters, actually will bring in more hunters or youth hunters?.....improbable and highly unlikely. It is not as static a situation as moving it from a weekday to a weekend day and big improvements will be realized.... maybe the opposite.

  • Many hunters enjoyed using part of the Saturday after Thanksgiving to get in some small game or turkey hunting at home or at camp prior to Monday deer hunting, it made for a great overall weekend.

  • With Cross bows legalization any hunter can master accuracy in an hour and take advantage of a six to eight-week archery season that includes 6 or 7 Saturdays in fall season where the weather would be more tolerable to all hunters......Some days for muzzle loader for doe and seniors with rifles are in this season also. There is NOT a lack of deer hunting opportunity as the PGC claims.

  • The weekend prior to deer season is a hunter’s dream, as one can hunt small game or turkeys on Saturday and turn around and enjoy the deer season opener on Monday. There is no other weekend like it, and should be promoted to attract new hunters to the sport. Why cancel out one hunting experience for another when we currently have both?

  • There is not one bit of biological or social data that supports changing to a Saturday opener…None. However, there is plenty of data that supports NOT changing the opening day, including the Game Commission’s 2017 Deer Hunter Survey the found 65% of respondents were not in favor of a Saturday opener. Any decision to make this change would be political, and that is not how we should manage our wildlife resource in Pa. This total disrespect to tradition weakens and cheapens what has long been a respected ritual and generational staple for the sport of PA deer hunting.

  • I have heard that the commissioners voting to start the season on Saturday was requested by legislators so they would have a stronger argument to implement Sunday hunting? Is it not a coincidence that one week later it was passed out of Game and Fisheries 8-3? Were the staunchest Pa. hunters that spend the most money sustaining a camp with taxes, utilities, maintenance and all the hunters we bring in through our camps, thrown under the bus for Sunday hunting? Sad and angering when you look at all the scenarios outlined in these 4 pages. Sunday hunting can come in, but leave the opening day the same…..With all the negative social, economic and tradition factors identified, and surely more than is contained here, a Saturday opener vote by the PGC board is likely what I heard is true, a covert move for Sunday hunting.

  • Making a significant change to the biggest opening day in the state, based on “hope” that it will attract more hunters, is a reckless approach for setting hunting seasons.

 

Category 1 (cont.)


This current data is indisputable that hunters will be conflicted with Thanksgiving visits from family and friends. Hunters, business owners, all hunting related entities, and the branches of their family units are a part of this data.


Catching a flight or hitting the road this Thanksgiving? Your travel plans may put you in the middle of one of the busiest travel days ever, as TSA and AAA both predict new, record-breaking volumes for holiday travel.


TSA estimates about 25 million travelers will be screened at U.S. airport checkpoints between Friday, and Monday, a 7 percent uptick from last year. Newark Liberty International Airport alone is expected to screen about 70,000 people a day during that period.

RELATED STORIES

In the five days surrounding Thanksgiving, about 4.7 million Americans are expected to travel by air between Wednesday, and Sunday, according to the latest AAA report. Though there's an increase in the number of people who travel off-peak for the holiday – opting to head out as early as the Friday before Thanksgiving – the busiest days for travel prior to the holiday remain Tuesday and Wednesday.

For the journey back from Thanksgiving, some days will be less hectic than others. TSA expects to see the most action of the entire week on Sunday, right at the end of the holiday weekend. That Sunday is expected to be one of TSA's top 10 busiest days of all time. (This statement seems to mean the worst travel day would be to wait until Sunday to travel home. This again reinforces that many Thanksgiving family visits consume most if not all of Friday and Saturday, possibly even Sunday morning)


For travelers planning to drive instead of fly, the AAA also expects to reach new records. The 2018 Thanksgiving weekend will see a projected 54.3 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles or more – the highest volume since 2005. It's also a 4.8 percent jump from last year, when AAA estimated there were 50.9 million travelers.


On the East Coast, the worst traffic will be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, AAA is predicting, particularly between Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. For the post-Thanksgiving journey, leaving on Thanksgiving Day, or the Friday or Saturday after, are the best days for avoiding the most traffic. (Whether flying or driving, this statement again seems to mean the worst travel day would be to wait until Sunday to travel home. This again reinforces that many Thanksgiving family visits consume most if not all of Friday and Saturday, possibly even Sunday morning)

 

 

KEEP TRADITIONAL MONDAY DEER SEASON OPENER
By Blaine Toy


Saturday deer season opener would be another nail in coffin for hunting for Pennsylvania. The Monday opener has been a hunting tradition as long as I can remember. Here in Armstrong County the first day of deer/buck season is considered a holiday with many business and schools closed for the opening day. Changing deer opener from Monday to Saturday should not be done

Other that my 20 years in the U.S. Army I have hunted deer in PA since 1950, I do not hunt as much now as I did prior to the corrupt PGC's kill the deer program. Deer hunting has continually lost PA hunters since a few forestry and anti-hunters recruited Gary Alt to push his lies about bigger bucks on the PA hunters with the antler restrictions. Prior to the Gary Alt lies we had a group of hunters that would spend the first week of buck season in the mountains as camp hunting and enjoying the outdoors and just seeing deer.  During that week we would support the local business with purchase of our supplies.  Most of those businesses have since gone bankrupt and if Saturday opener is approved it will end most of those that have survived.

The week-end prior deer opener is a big week-end for the business,and hunting clubs.  PGC has already ruined if with the Saturday bear opener.   The bear hunters hunt Saturday then go back home Sunday taking the income away, and with the concurrent buck/doe seasons there is no doe opener.

 

We as gun owners need be concerned with all this anti-hunting ideas as just another way of the anti-gun groups trying to take our guns away.    No hunters "why own guns".

 

 

 

 

©2011 • Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania