Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Pennsylvania letters to the editor (Jan. 6, 2023): Plenty of thoughts on deer

Commentaries and letters are the opinion of the writers; not necessarily that of Pennsylvania Outdoor News.

Over the years, I’ve experienced cold deer seasons and warm deer seasons. Having said that, as hunters, we should be prepared to take care of a harvested animal whatever the weather brings.

In other words, a real hunter will know how to process his harvest and have the gumption to take care of it.

It’s OK to take the animal to a processor. But if one isn’t available, have a contingency plan.


Taking care of a deer isn’t that hard.

If you don’t have the equipment, place or the time to take care of it yourself – then don’t pull the trigger.

Gordon Meeder Midland, Pa.

Don’t wait, kill deer now

People are missing the point. Gun ownership and hunting are fading away. Harvest as many deer as you legally can, while you still legally can.

There may not always be hunting but there will always be a Game Commission.

Jimmy Messersmith York, Pa.

He gave up hunting

I quit hunting last year after 50 years. The Game Commission ruined the season/experience for all hunting camps by changing the deer season start date.

I can’t get to my camp on Friday. It may sound odd but I have things to do the day after Thanksgiving with my family.

The agency killed the small sporting goods stores. Stores are empty the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And the economies of small towns are ruined because a guy gets his doe first day and doesn’t come back.

I’ll be back if they change it.

Phil Rehberg Lower Burrell, Pa.

Have deer wised up?

No doubt deer hunting has changed in my 40-plus years. Gone are the days of counting 50 to 100 shots on opening day. Or seeing a dozen or more deer at a time.

Maybe as a group, we invested too much in opportunities and implemented certain policies detrimental to the sport, which lead to educating our deer herd.

I’m sorry, but these aren’t the same animals I hunted in my youth.

I think a lot of folks got googly-eyed at the prospects of killing big bucks. They thought hunting during the rut would be easy. But it seems like the more we throw at our quarry the more educated they become.

Maybe it’s not the right move to fill everyone’s tag/tags. Maybe there should be a more balanced approach.

Could it be these animals are seeing too much pressure? Seems like the seasons after Christmas are better, because our deer get a little break.

Maybe there needs to be a break between archery and rifle seasons, so every sportsman has a fair shot.

Paul Pryor Monongahela, Pa.

Mad about martens

I don’t understand why we would want to introduce a predator like the pine marten back into our woods after it has been gone for 100 years.

Dinosaurs have been gone for millions of years, and we aren’t trying to bring them back.

Nothing has been said about what martens will do to our suffering grouse population.

Also, this repeated contention by the Game Commission that 92% of hunters want it – that’s hogwash. How many hunters really were polled?

I spoke with numerous men and women at our sportsmen’s club in Berks County and several in Sullivan County – none of them heard of this poll.

I wonder, is someone at the commission trying to create a situation to keep their job.

Dave Grove

Boyertown, Pa.

Expand jr. seasons

I spent a pleasant week at camp during the archery, muzzleloader and junior/senior hunt.

A junior got his first antlerless deer with a rifle, adults got bucks and antlerless deer with muzzleloaders and bow, and I, the senior, got a young doe with a rifle.

It is a beautiful time to be in the woods with friends and family. The temperatures are not too cold to discourage a junior, the changing leaves are in their glory and the deer are very relaxed, unlike rifle season, when they run all day.

So why is this beautiful season so short? I would like the muzzleloader and junior/senior hunt extended to the same time frame as archery, where we can hunt bucks or does.

This will greatly extend the hunting season for the young and old, level out the harvest that doesn’t swamp the deer processors and take deer out earlier. That relieves the ecosystem from overbrowsing.

Bob Machesney Pittsburgh

Not fond of Gary Alt

As an elder deer hunter, I must comment on your recent article “20 Years of Antler Restrictions.”

I was one of the many current elderly hunters who fell for the presentations of former Game Commission deer biologist Gary Alt seeking the reduction of the deer herd.

We were impressed by his successful management of the commission’s black bear program and anticipated the same results with his deer-management proposals.

Now, 20 years later, in my opinion, no one man did more to destroy the deer herd and associated economy of the Northern Tier counties than Alt.

Since the ’70s, I have hunted in the Driftwood area of Cameron County. In those early days I remember seeing groups of deer. After Alt and the Game Commission increased the issuance of antlerless tags, the herd was decimated.

Gone are the deer herds; gone are the hunters spending a week at camp; gone is the occupancy of those camps; and gone are the local mom-and-pop businesses, along with their revenue. Now I see vacant camps for sale as a result.

Deer alone cannot be blamed for the loss of the understory. The agencies should have engaged in appropriate forest management, e.g. continuous timbering, clearcutting and forest burns to open the forest canopy and promote regeneration.

We can blame the greed of the agencies for the sale of too many antlerless and DMAP licenses, however, we must blame ourselves for purchasing and filling our tags.

Francis Zulli Middletown, Pa.

No deer processors

My son-in-law, grandson, and I all hunt lands in Northampton County. Hunters I know from all over this county, mostly in units 5C and 3D have expressed concerns that they can’t find deer processors in our area.

My son-in law on Dec. 5 could find no one who would take his deer.

I was lucky enough back in October that my normal butcher, Hillside Smokehouse in Lower Mt. Bethel Township, was able to accommodate me, business as normal at that time.

If you called during rifle deer season, now they were taking no new customers and didn’t return phone calls, and had a message saying that because of the state, processors are closing down.

I think there is a big story here. We hunters need deer processors.

Are other areas having this problem? Will we have to travel to get our deer butchered?

How many other hunters just stopped hunting like I did?

David Denker Bangor, Pa.

Primitive weapons

What happened to primitive hunting season?

When I started hunting, we used either a longbow, a recurve or a flintlock. Now we have bows with pulleys and scopes, crossbows and muzzleloaders that are so advanced they are equal to a centerfire rifle.

Modern hunters want to cheat and make it easier. They even put up cameras to do their scouting for them. And now they want longer seasons.

I have had bowhunters yell and cuss at me and tell me to go and hunt somewhere else because I was hunting squirrels too close to their spot. They think they own the woods.

Let’s go back to primitive weapons season, and if they want to use their modern weapons, then let them use them during rifle season.

Robert Schriskey

Washington, Pa.

2 elephants in room

A recent column by Tom Venesky described a huge elephant in the room – ATV use in the Northern Tier.

I called DCNR and was told that the Legislature rammed it through like they did fracking.

Now, all the rich quad runners can tear up the woods; the last thing I want to hear while hunting is quad runners.

This will be the demise of our elk herd.

The other elephant in the room is the deer farms spreading CWD among wild deer.

It’s ridiculous to have a few wealthy landowners and legislators making money off deer farms.

They spread disease and the rest of Pennsylvania hunters are going to have to pay for it.

David Krisko Manchester, Pa.

Online Opinions

This issue’s question ———————– A bill soon will be introduced in the state Senate that would remove the ban on Sunday hunting and allow it to occur in any season the Game Commission chooses. Do you hope it becomes law?

Yes No

Last issue’s question ———————– Some water rescuers in Cambria County left the deer woods the first day of deer season to rescue deer that fell through thin ice. Was the effort worth it, do you think?

Yes 94% No 6%

Attention Readers

Pennsylvania Outdoor News invites letters from its readers. All letters must have the writer’s name, complete address and phone number. (Phone numbers will not be printed.) Letters should be no longer than 250 words. Form letters will not be printed. Pennsylvania Outdoor News reserves the right to edit. Address letters to:

Pennsylvania Outdoor News PO Box 1393, Altoona, PA 16603-1393 Email:


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