Not a big fan, but will still accept the new hunting rule

One of the great freedoms we enjoy, at least so far, is the right to express our opinions about anything without punishment.

As the opening day of rifle deer season approaches, hunters are openly proclaiming their opinions as to what is going to be the result of having changed the opening day from Monday to Saturday.

Many are predicting that rural store owners, restaurants and sporting goods stores will suffer big losses because of lack of sales. Perhaps. But I have found that I, along with other hunters, manage to purchase what I need by opening day, whenever it is.

Maybe restaurants will suffer some decline in business because hunters always traveled to camps on Sunday, the day before the season opened. Such a ritual was always important to me as my family and I would always travel to camp the day before the season opened. But as disgruntled as I might be about this change, I will now be traveling to my deer hunting hot spot on Friday. And I probably will stop to eat along the way and find lots of other hunters doing the same.

Actually, the change in the opening day is a great inconvenience to me. But I have already adjusted. The fact is, we simply are going to have to wait and see how this particular change of schedule truly will impact businesses and our schedules.

In talking to many hunters about this subject, I find that the core of the problem is principally the fact that we humans simply do not like change in our lives, whatever it is. This changes a long-held tradition, and the tradition is strongly felt in Pennsylvania. But, perhaps after a couple years of acclimating to this particular change, many will find it actually is not so bad.

After all, over the years of our rich history of hunting many changes in game laws have taken place, almost all of which were roundly condemned by hunters but which proved in the end to have been exactly the right thing to do. Will this turn out that way? We simply cannot make such a determination yet. But in the meantime, each one of us has our own opinion and we love to expound about it. Right now, we simply do not know exactly how this one will work out.

One change in the game laws this year that truly does concern me is that the fall turkey hunter is not required to wear fluorescent orange any more.

Whether or not wearing orange while turkey hunting is helpful or not is not my question. I just know how many people I have met that have the opinion that — no matter what they are hunting — that if they see movement but don’t see orange, it has to be whatever they are after so they go ahead and shoot. Fall turkey hunters are accustomed to having to see some orange worn by hunters who are moving in the woods, and orange bands around trees of turkey hunters who are already set up in a spot.

I know the Game Commission and others have suggested that turkey hunters voluntarily continue to don some orange while in the woods. That, however, is not a guarantee that all fall turkey hunters will do that.

My concern on this matter stems, I acknowledge, from my own being a victim in a turkey-related shooting. My accident happened in the years before wearing orange was required by law. So the day two hunters sneaked up on the sounds of the turkey calls I was making and shot at movement in the brush, showcases this recklessness. And grievously wounded me.

I had orange with me that day, but had secured it in my vest pocket because I was preparing to get my gear together and move on. The movement these two characters saw was me getting ready to move away from the area.

All I can do from this place is to strongly suggest that fall turkey hunters do wear an orange hat when moving and place some orange at your set up spot to warn other hunters that you are there. Orange can be easily placed so that incoming turkeys do not see it.

Remember too at this time, that almost all species we will be hunting for this fall and winter are struggling with diseases and maladies that require research and man hours to conquer. Our state bird, the Ruffed Grouse, has been on the decline, and the West Nile Virus is suspected.

The Ruffed grouse is such a fine choice as a state bird. The grouse is stately, in its habits and appearance. Nothing in the woods compares to the audio of hearing a grouse drumming on top a hollow log. You may be hunting turkey but when that symphony starts you stop and listen to it.

The Thunderbird, Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society, which is our local chapter, will be having a fund raising banquet On Friday, Nov. 1. I’ll be writing more about this great event a little later.


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