By Konstantine Fekos
The wait is over — Pennsylvania’s deer season has officially begun.
Although today marks one of the state’s latest deer season starts in several years, local hunters aren’t too put off by the delay. Rather, they anticipate an overall good season.
“There’s not really an impact from the wait,” said Carl Pelino, secretary for the Black Ash Sportsman’s Club in Guys Mills, where many members spent the weekend getting sighted-in for the season. “The weather patterns make more of a difference than anything. It’ll be nice just to have an opener without rain, unlike previous years.”
Snowy grounds and sunny skies are the conditions local hunters get excited about, Pelino added.
And the club’s members in particular are no exception.
The recent rise in temperatures following last week’s snowfall seems to be the perfect mix for near-lifetime hunters Paul Peirsel and his son, Mark, of Meadville.
“Everybody likes the snow,” Mark said. “You can see (deer) moving better. It looks like there’s more snow this year so far.”
The father-son duo engaged in target practice after their sight-in at the club’s range Saturday afternoon to ensure their rifles fire accurately this season.
“It happens every year,” Paul said. “You double check everything and make sure you hit where you’re shooting. It’s also good to fire off a couple rounds for fun on a nice day.”
Crawford County hunters will join the approximate 750,000 expected to hit the woods statewide for the opener today, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
“It ought to be a good season,” Pelino said. “Talking to everybody, (club) members and local farmers, it seems like there’s an awful lot of deer this year.”
Deer populations are stable or increasing in just about all of the state’s 23 wildlife-management units, according to the Game Commission, which reports this season’s hot spots will most likely be found with areas of plentiful food in the low-hanging parts of valleys.
Based on state tracking reports regarding food sources, weather and other factors, state officials believe the deer harvest in most areas of the state should be ripe for the picking.
“Considering deer and hunter numbers both are good, the pieces are in place for a great season,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director, in a press release. “And for those hunters who harvest their ‘buck of a lifetime’ this year, it will be the best season ever. I hope each of them soon discovers that, indeed, good things come to those who wait.”
The statewide general firearms season will run through Dec. 14, allowing licensed hunters in most parts of the state the option of taking antlered or antlerless deer at any time until then, according to the Game Commission.
In other areas, hunters may only take antlered deer in the season’s first five days with antlerless and antlered seasons running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec. 7, to the season’s close.
For more information on regulations, visit The Game Commission’s website at pgc.state.pa.us.
The Game Commission stresses that hunters are required to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their heads, chest and back combined. An orange hat and vest, for instance, should satisfy the requirement.
Non-hunters are also encouraged to wear visible amounts of fluorescent orange for safety purposes.
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.
The Meadville Tribune publishes photographs of hunters and their deer if the deer meets one of the following criteria.
-It has a 10-point rack or larger.
-Its inside antler spread measures 21 inches or wider.
-It is an albino.
-It has radically non-typical antlers.
-It is taken with a bow or crossbow.
-It is the hunter’s first buck.
You may email your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the following information: name, age and hometown of hunter, area the deer was taken, date and time the deer was taken and a phone number (not for publication) where we can reach you with any questions.
If a staff member is available, the Tribune will take your deer photo, though emailing your photo is the best way to get it into the paper.