Road Hunters – illegal, not sporting and a negative image of hunters
I live along a rural, little-traveled Centre County road. Each year during deer season, I get to witness a parade of vehicles — usually pickups — driving slowly up and down the hollow. I can actually catch glimpses of the “parade” from two of the treestands that I have on my property.
The pickup truck occupants are typically dressed in fluorescent orange, and as retired Blair County Wildlife Conservation Officer Steve Hanczar recently shared, “They always seem to have their vehicle windows down — because they are hot, or so they say.”
These are road hunters, of course, although I hate to use the word “hunters.” A better term would be “road poachers” or “road killers,” because there is no ethical hunting involved.
A few seasons ago, I saw a red pickup slowly moving down the road — its occupants dressed in orange. About half a minute later, I heard the pickup come to a stop. A loud bang followed. There was some talking, the sound of tailgate and cab doors slamming, and then the pickup sped away.
Later examination revealed an empty .308 cartridge along the road, blood stains, and a drag mark leading to the highway, but no gut pile. It was easy to reconstruct the events that I had heard. A deer had been illegally taken on my property by a road poacher. Most likely, this occurred when someone shot illegally out of the window of the red pickup.
I wonder if these greedy people ever stop to think about the negative image that they project of hunters and hunting. Yes, venison was garnered for the freezer, but was that really hunting, or just killing fueled by greed?
Was there excitement and pride with respect to the harvest of a deer? I doubt it.
If hunting is to continue into the future, this despicable behavior needs to stop. Game Commission officers can’t be everywhere, so it is up to us hunters to let the offenders know loudly and clearly that this illegal, unsporting and unsafe behavior is unacceptable.
Peer pressure can be an effective way to change behavior.