Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Heard, But Not Seen

My friend and co-worker Tom Williams has taken off the last few Mondays after Thanksgiving.  I got to anchor and avoid doing the "opening day of rifle deer season" story.

Tom changed his schedule this year, so there I was, on the road, with a photographer, in search of hunters and their prey.  It was a cold and rainy Monday morning.  A long drive through Lackawanna and Wayne counties showed a lot of cars and trucks parked along roads, but few hunters dragging out their trophies.

It was time for plan B-- go to a processing shop and have the hunters come to us.  It worked.  We met a very nice and polite teen from Scranton and his father.  The younger got a deer on his very first day of trying.  It was a good story, and we made our noon deadline with plenty of time to spare.

I know you were waiting for this part.  I know there's ample reason to thin the herd.  Deer cause crop and property damage.  They're all over the highways.  Having said that, I don't like looking at dead animals-- no matter how good the reason, and yes, I do eat beef.

Hunting is a tradition thousands of years old.  It seems to work well.  Still, way deep down, I have a feeling there might be a better way to control the deer population.  Do I know what it is?  Absolutely not.

I thought it was just me, but the number of hunters seemed down this year.  I spoke with others.  They agree.  The old timers say fewer young people are taking up the activity.  That's easy to see.

A state representative has drafted a bill, asking the state game commission to move the opening day of deer season to a Saturday, just like bear season.  The bear move appears to be a success.  The state rep reasons that people can't skip weekday work because they can't afford to.  The economy is weak.  I don't see a problem with a move to Saturday, but you know Pennsylvania is slow to change.  Let's at least give it a try for a few years, and see how it goes.  Kids can actually go to school on Monday after Thanksgiving and get an education.

Happy hunting, and stay safe.