Business was booming at Westmoreland County deer processing facilities on Saturday as hunters gathered with the fruits of their labor during the first day of Pennsylvania gun season.
Most of those who spoke to Tribune-Review were happy that this year’s season started on a Saturday and Sunday, instead of the Monday following Thanksgiving Day.
“I think it’s great,” Larry Daniels Sr. said of the non-traditional schedule, including several Sundays where deer can be targeted. “Having it on Sunday helps people who want to hunt. That’s when people leave. Everyone is working all the time now.
Daniels and his son, Larry Jr., 27, both of Salem, pocketed an 8-point colt on Saturday morning and can return to their usual hunting spot, at a farm near their home, to set their sights on the hinds.
In another new twist this year, licensed hunters can and do hunt males simultaneously.
This change worked well for Ron Keslar of Latrobe, a sergeant with the City Police Department, and his father, Ronald Keslar, of Saltlick Township, Fayette County. Together, they took a doe and a buck while hunting together in Keystone State Park.
“When I was working you had to take (vacation) days to hunt a buck and then you had to leave another day for doe season,” Elder Keslar said. “That way you can take off one day and get them both.”
The Keslars look for a good place where they can stay put to spot deer in the area of the park where hunting is permitted. “We’re sitting in the tree, standing together, and he’s trying to keep me awake,” Elder Keslar said of his son.
Chris Gerhard from Derry Borough hunts on a farm in Derry Township to help the owner control the deer population there. He hailed the start of the weekend of the season.
This leaves him three days to devote to his quest for the deer, counting the Monday after Thanksgiving which is offered as a day off by his employer.
But Gerhard doesn’t like simultaneous seasons for the money and does, which he says could be dangerous as hunters aim for more targets on any given day.
“When I grew up hunting, when you heard a gunshot the first day, you knew someone was shooting a dollar,” he said. “Now you don’t know if they’re shooting a doe or a buck. “
Gerhard’s goal is to help the host farmer control the number of does on his land, but he ended up pulling an 8-point dollar on Saturday.
“He came and I wasn’t going to let him go,” Gerhard said of the buck. “I’m going out tomorrow and I’ll try to kill some does.” “
This season, the State Game Commission has reduced the number of deer licenses available to 925,000 from 932,000 previously.
Unity resident Mel Davis, who delayed his plans as he recovered from knee surgery, was among the hunters who failed to secure a doe tag before being sold locally.
There was no shortage of game at his usual Derry Township hunting ground, and he was able to pocket some cash just before 9 a.m. on Saturday. “I saw three males and three males at 8:30 am,” he said.
Davis is a lone hunter.
“You can’t trust anyone else to go with you,” he said. “Once you both find out there’s a big (buck), the other guy is still trying to beat you up.”
Jeff Himler is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .