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Times Have Changed In Hunting Community

December 2, 2018

Well, the first week of the deer and bear season is over. I hope you had a great week. When I say a great week, I don’t mean if you were successful. I think too many hunters feel to be successful, they must bag a deer or bear. Years ago, that would mean taking a spike that had the misfortune of walking past a waiting hunter. Don’t get me wrong, when I started hunting more than 60 years ago, any buck was a prize. We didn’t have the knowledge or the equipment hunters have today. The bows and rifles of today are so superior to those of that era, I often shake my head when reminiscing. When I first started hunting, we went out in jeans and red and black woolen shirts. We still hunted deer, but it came down to time spent in the woods and plenty of patience. Shots more than 15 yards were mulled over before releasing the string. Notice, I said string, not release, and no sight was mentioned because there wasn’t any. I always used Remington and Browning. They shot great out of the box. The models of today shoot more accurately and the actions are so smooth they practically work themselves. Shots of 50 yards were taken by accomplished archers and speeds of more than 300-feet-per-second became common. Now, crossbows shoot more than 400-feet-per-second. When I watch the “People and Places” section of Pennsylvania Outdoor Life, I have to pinch myself. I never saw the quality of bucks that are shown in the past five years or so. I have to give the credit for this to Dr. Gary Alt. He was the head of the deer section in Pennsylvania, who brought about the changes that contributed to those pictures being possible. If Dr. Alt’s plan was followed to the fullest, the quality of the deer herd would even be better. He wanted the antlerless season to be held earlier, so the doe would be out of the herd before the rut. If the number of doe were reduced before the rut, the dominant buck could control the younger buck and do most of the breeding. This would increase the quality of the herd immediately. Unfortunately, when these rules were introduced, the hunters screamed the deer herd would disappear. They fought it so hard the Pennsylvania Game Commission eliminated the early doe season. Thankfully, even though it took time, the herd improved and made these pictures possible. On another vein, I read an editorial in the Nov. 24 edition of The Times-Tribune under the headline “Don’t lift the ban on Sunday hunting.” It explained the decline in hunters in Pennsylvania, and I am not going to debate that point. What I have an issue with is the portrayal hunters will make use of the state forest land exclusively. What I suggest is to find a way to share these lands so hunters and hikers have equal time. With a little work and thought, a compromise could be found to make everyone happy. DAVE LEWONCZYK is a contributing columnist for Times-Shamrock Newspapers.

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