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Public outcry stalls House Representative's attempt to change deer season

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In early December 2013 Rep. Greg Lucas, R-Erie/Crawford, introduced HR 576 asking the Game Commission to move the traditional Monday opening day for white tail deer to the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Resolutions, which are non-binding and are a legislator’s method of offering official suggestions rather than instructions, are often overlooked by the general public. However, as with most issues involving deer hunting, PA hunters have been outspoken and defensive about any attempts mess with tradition.

The resolution justifies the request in part by stating “For many hunters, taking a day off work or missing other obligations in order to hunt on the traditional Monday start to the season can create additional financial burden during challenging economic times”. It is hoped, according to the resolution that moving the opening day to the first Saturday after Thanksgiving would help revitalize interest in hunting and generate additional license sales.

HR 576 was referred to the House Game and Fisheries Committee on December 9, 2013 and was expected to move quickly to the House for a full vote. At first it appeared that this would be the case, especially after the Game Commission released the license sales for the June 10 through November 30 period showing 4.05 percent drop from the same period in 2012. But six weeks later the resolution has yet to be put to a vote at the committee level, never mind the whole House.

A review of public comments on Rep. Lucas’ Facebook page shows just strong a part tradition play in PA deer hunting. Many simply repeat the message “Keep in Monday”, while other are a bit stronger in their opinion. One commentator states “What? Are you another deer hating enviroextreme types or something??” and goes on to state his opinion that a new representative is needed. Still another reply states “you are a moron leave deer season alone! Tradition’s mean something to deer hunters!”

If this same sentiment, and level of hostility, was voiced directly to the members of the Game and Fisheries Committee it is no wonder HR 576 is stalled.

Rep. Lucas remains hopeful that the message, if not the resolution itself, will be heard by hunters and the Game Commission alike. In a recent interview with the Outdoor News Lucas is quoted as defending HR 576 by saying “ If parents can’t get off work and students can’t get out of school, then having rifled deer season start on a Monday could be preventing one generation from passing this tradition along to the next.”

If you would like to share your opinion on HR 576 Rep. Lucas invites you to email him. You can also contact his Edinboro office at 814-734-2793 or his Harrisburg office at 717-772-9940.

Good Luck. Good Hunting!

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