Last Sunday was a historic day for me as a lifelong Pennsylvania resident deer hunter.
I sat in my tree stand with my bow and hunted deer.
Before this year, that’s never been allowed in my lifetime.
I’ve hunted deer on Sundays in other states where Sunday hunting allowed, so it didn’t feel totally foreign to be sitting in my stand with my bow hanging beside me.
But it definitely felt different.
Pennsylvania hunters were afforded three new Sunday-hunting opportunities this year.
The first came Nov. 15, when archery deer hunting was allowed. The second was Nov. 22, during the statewide firearms bear season. And the third was Nov. 29 – the second day of the firearms deer season.
From my personal experience – and remember, I’m one guy sitting in one spot in all of Pennsylvania – there didn’t seem to be much deer hunting going on last Sunday.
I heard just two shots all day, and both of them came back to back – likely fired by the same hunter – at 5 p.m.
I heard no other shots and I saw no other hunters.
On the property where I was hunting, all hunters are required to sign in. My name was the only one in the book for Nov. 29.
A relative hunted a piece of public ground in Chester County that day. He reported seeing no other hunters, although he did hear a couple of distant shots.
In a very informal survey, I asked on my Facebook page last week for Sunday-hunting experiences. The reports I got all seemed to mirror mine.
“I was in Coatesville Saturday and Sunday,” one hunter wrote. “Saturday, heard lots of shots, saw a pile of deer.
“Sunday, very few shots. Saw no hunters and no deer.”
Another hunter wrote that there were, “not many shots in Mifflin County where I was. Saw one tail all day.”
A hunter who spent time in the woods of Wildlife Management Unit 3B during opening weekend reported he hunted on private land until 10 a.m. Sunday.
“I heard five shots til 10 a.m.,” he wrote. “I saw a couple of does, that was it. With the rain forecast for Monday I would have thought more guys would have been out over Saturday and Sunday.”
It was “dead at my house in the Middle Creek area,” another hunter wrote.
So what gives?
Where were all the hunters Nov. 29?
According to data from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the first day of firearms deer season typically is the most successful day.
And the second-most successful day usually is the second day of the season. That would have been Sunday, Nov. 29, this year.
What did you experience?
I want to hear from the hunting LNP readers.
Did you hunt Sunday?
Did you hear much shooting and/or see many hunters?
Was the bear season Sunday or the archery season Sunday different from the firearms deer Sunday?
I was told that Sundays in other states where general Sunday hunting is allowed typically are not as crowded as Saturdays. But in Pennsylvania, we only got three Sundays to hunt this year.
There are three weekends that are part of the 2020 firearms deer season, but hunters were only allowed to hunt one Sunday.
One of the reasons Sunday-hunting advocates have pitched for the inclusion of Sundays in the hunting calendar in Pennsylvania is that Sundays are critical for allowing more people to get out and hunt.
But if the firearms deer season draws the most hunting participation in this state, and hunters were only afforded one Sunday to hunt, I would have expected more participation than I witnessed Nov. 29, and that I’ve heard about in my very informal survey.
Share your thoughts by sending an email to PREILLY@LNPNEWS.COM.