Thanksgiving week special to this Pennsylvania hunter

Thanksgiving week has always held a remarkable significance for me during all my years as a hunter.

Of course the quickening approach of rifle deer season ­– for bucks only through most of my years – was wedged soundly in the back of my mind in the past as it is now, and was sure to grow as the week went on. But the week was also special for other reasons.

Through my early years,  it was always the final week of small game seasons that were still open for hunting. Sure, there was a week between Christmas and New Year’s when I might take home some additional rabbits and squirrels, but wild pheasants remained open this particular week, and the challenge of bagging a couple of the few remaining and extremely wary cock birds was the reward.

Saturday of that week  was usually the concluding time afield with a couple of uncles and a cousin for my father and myself until the following year, and that fact alone was full of special meaning.

It was also a week to sneak in some duck hunting on local streams, and with the extra time off from school providing additional hunting chances, the thought of a couple of plump mallards plucked and frozen that would eventually thaw to become the sort of tasty meal my mother specialized in – well that was incentive enough to pull on the hip waders and trek a good half mile under cold and darkened skies to a small stream near home.

Nowadays is even better with much to look forward to. Pheasants (although not wild birds these days) are open till this week’s end, and that season will reopen in many areas across the state at a later date. Squirrels and rabbits, which remain in season this week, will see a long legal hunting period afterward, too.

Migrating Canada geese, which a few friends and I shot limits of a couple of mornings ago, are open till Saturday, and reopen after a couple weeks in my area. Ducks, too, have a long season that runs over this exceptional week.

And without doubt, those who have yet to bag a deer by bow, or choose to hunt them with gun only, use this week to practice shooting, check clothing and footwear, scout and generally wait anxiously for next Monday morning.

It is a full week for hunters, and I, for one, give thanks for it being so.

Foremost, I am greatly thankful for a healthy family and my own ability to still pursue wild game. I’m thankful, too,  that I live in this country, where so many in the past, and many continually do, sacrifice their own lives for the freedoms I enjoy.

And lastly, I’m thankful that here in my Pennsylvania home, I’ve had all the years of opportunity this state’s hunting seasons provide, to live the life of an outdoor person, and gather all the memories that make Thanksgiving week so special to me.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Hunting News, PenBlogs, Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe

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