deer hunter

A successful hunter hauls a buck out of the Pennsylvania woods.

History will be made on Saturday.

For the first time in more than 60 years, Pennsylvania hunters heading out that day for the firearms deer season opener will be doing so on a day other than the Monday after Thanksgiving.

This is a move the Pennsylvania Game Commission hopes will enable more hunters to get out. As hunting license sales slide year after year, and not having enough time is cited as a leading reason hunters have quit, the agency is looking for ways to increase opportunity.

Attention deer hunters: Send us your opening-day impressions

But it's also a move that was opposed by a majority of hunters who responded to calls for input on the issue when it was proposed early this year.

Members of the Game Commission's board of directors asked hunters to let them know if they favored moving the traditional gun season opener from Monday to Saturday. Those commissioners acknowledged that most of the hunters they heard from opposed the move.

A poll on this subject conducted by LNP in 2018 ended with the same result.

But the commissioners who voted for the change said they heard from enough hunters to convince them the move is needed to meet the demanding schedules people are facing now, and expect to face in the future.

Still, traditions are sacred in Pennsylvania.

Hunters who head to deer camps liked the traditional schedule leading to the Monday opener. They enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends and family on Thursday, headed to camp Saturday, spent Sunday making preparations for the next day's hunt and then hunted Monday.

What will the schedule be like this weekend?

Will hunters take off the day after Thanksgiving to head to camp? Can they get that day off?

Since Sunday is closed to deer hunting, will hunters hunt Saturday and come home Sunday? Or will they stay at camp and continue hunting after the Sunday layoff?

Will hunters maybe hunt around home Saturday and then head to camp on Sunday?

And of course the big question is, will the Saturday opener convince some people to go hunting, who might otherwise not have bought a license this year?

Time will tell.

Please keep me posted on your hunting on this historic weekend. Send emails to me at PREILLY@LNPNEWS.COM and let me know how you feel about the Saturday opener after experiencing it.

Also, if you shoot a buck - or already shot one - this season, send me a photo of it to the same email address. Or, if you prefer, mail photos to: P.J. Reilly, LNP, 8 W. King St., Lancaster, PA 17602.

Be sure to include your name and address, the county in which you were hunting, the date you shot the deer and the number of points on the antlers, just in case we can't tell from the picture.

Or you can enter your photo using the form below:

Good luck to everyone.

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