Deer season opening day moves up

The Monday after Thanksgiving has been the start of Pennsylvania’s firearms deer season for over 50 years.

That streak ends in 2019.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission on Tuesday moved the start of the season from the Monday after Thanksgiving to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Rifle season for hunting deer in Pennsylvania has kicked off the Monday after Thanksgiving since 1963, according to an Associated Press report.

According to the PGC, moving the opening day back “will created an expanded, 13-day season that includes three Saturdays.”

A statement from the Commission explained that it “received and reviewed a plethora of public comment on the issue, and hunters’ opinions clearly were split. Many of those supporting the move to a Saturday opener said they are unable to hunt on a Monday opener because they are unable to take off work or school to do so.”

“Many of those who supported sticking with a Monday opener cited logistical concerns with traveling to their hunting camps during the Thanksgiving weekend.”

According to the Associated Press, supporters hope a Saturday opening will bring back people struggling to find time to hunt and help high school and college hunters who don’t get opening day off from school. Opponents said the change would interfere with hunting camp traditions and complicate travel during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The decision was also split on the Commission, passing by a 5-3 vote.

“We need to look to the future concerning our hunters and bringing in more youth,” Commissioner Brian Hoover said.

The Game Commission said in the statement that in the coming year it will “track the response to a Saturday opener through license sales, deer harvest and comments about the change.”