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Some PGC Rule Changes Are Welcome And Overdue

February 10, 2019

If you have seen the new proposals to the Pennsylvania Game laws, you will know why I can’t list them all. My best advice to you is to get on the Pennsylvania Game Commission website and view the changes yourself. A really significant change is the opening day of the 2019 rifle season for deer. This year, the season opens the Saturday after Thanksgiving, instead of Monday. This change was long overdue. I hope it’s not too late. Are there still enough hunters left who quit because they didn’t have enough time to spend in the woods? The Game Commission is looking to reduce the deer herd in some areas. This change alone will help. This year on opening day, I heard less shots than I have fingers. To those of you who don’t want more hunters, remember the more hunters, the more movement of the deer and the better your chances of getting a shot. The second change is in the amount of hunter safety orange required during the changing seasons. I will adhere to the old rules as a safety issue for myself. I’m glad to see the commission kept semi-automatic rifles out of the woods. Why does anyone need a semi-automatic rifle to kill a deer? If you can’t hit a deer with a bolt-action rifle, practice. I’m proud to say I touch holes at 100 yards. Waiting for that perfect shot that will bring the deer down is my idea of hunting. I can’t imagine how much meat will be left after a volley of semi-automatic fire. Instead of looking around after hearing a shot, imagine ducking after a five- or 10-shot volley. A rule I’m disappointed in is the opening day of the 2018-19 archery season. I adhere to the thoughts of Dr. Gary Alt, who wanted to start the season earlier. Starting the season earlier would eliminate a number of female deer, so when the rut rolled around, the dominant bucks would have a better chance to do most of the breeding, resulting in a better quality herd. Sunday hunting is, of course, a sore subject to a lot of people. The good news is, the Sunday hunting advocates have finally won. This, too, was a law that should have been abolished decades ago. On Tuesday, the House Game and Fisheries Committee voted, 8-3, to pass the bill that will allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to allow hunting on Sundays through regulations. Now, it may mean Sunday hunting will be permitted only on the two Sundays of the rifle season for deer. These are just proposals and the final vote will be at the next meeting. The good news is that proposals usually pass. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to let both the House Game and Fish Committee, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission know how you feel. A thank you wouldn’t hurt, along with the request to open the archery season earlier. DAVE LEWONCZYK is a contributing columnist for Times-Shamrock Newspapers. Contact him at lewonoutdoors @verizon.net.

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