HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The first day of deer firearms season in Pennsylvania was Saturday, ending a tradition of more than five decades.
Since 1963, the first day of the season had been the Monday after Thanksgiving.
“The whole idea behind changing the opening day is it would seem to give more hunters the chance to participate on opening day,” said Travis Lau, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The Game Commission plans to look at the impact of this year’s change before deciding whether to keep the Saturday opening day next year. That decision should be made in April.
“When the season comes and goes, we’ll be looking at things like license sales and perhaps hunter surveys, to try to get a grasp on the real impacts of the Saturday opener,” Lau said. “How it affected hunter success, how it affected deer harvest, and whether hunters like it.”
The shift arrives as hunting license sales have declined in Pennsylvania. More hunting changes are also arriving in the form of hunting up to three Sundays every year. Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law approving the change last week.
“It’s important because there are people who are busy and can’t get out the first day of deer season, and can’t get out to hunt on the days that we have right now. And so, this will expand and make hunting something that more people can do. Make it more convenient,” Wolf said.