Please open this Lancaster online link and read the article.
If you notice the title doesn’t say hunters are unsure or dislike it says “hates” and that sums up the sentiments of far too many hunters about the Saturday opener. This explains and confirms the initial pushback that was ignored in 2019. It is concerning the board chooses to alienate a big part of 25 to 35% of camp and seasonal home hunters, rather than compromise with the two full weekends following a Monday opener. Truthfully I am hearing the hate sentiment from non-camp hunters too, far too rushed, missing the prep and scouting time, and the small game day, and “it’s just not as fun anymore”. After three years of minimal if any directly linked license sales impact from this change, the peripheral impacts on rural economies, first responder fund-raising losses, lost traditions, should tip the scale. I believe Jim Daley stated when he reversed his position on his suggested opener change ” hurting one group to benefit another is never a good idea”.
Yes, I have stayed after this for 3 years, and after three years in if the change was truly a good one, myself and those that understand and loved the Monday would have withered away if we were a small minority. You can clearly see that is not the case, and a reversal would be the best decision to benefit the state and hunter masses. Remember we had the hunters we have today with the Monday opener. Putting it back will not affect those hunters, and the addition of two-day weekends following, one now and the second when we get more Sunday approval. I will be presenting a detailed assessment of all the data including license sales dissected to reveal what actually affected them in 2019,20,21 before your January meeting. This information will be made public.
I realize many are tired of hearing from me, I’m tired of having this topic brought up to me constantly also, but I hope you can accept my commitment to this based on what is now, three years later, is still not supported by a majority of hunters. The benefits perceived, although legitimate, did not metastasize into something worthy of all it damaged. Opportunity sounds good at face value, but all the opportunities possible cannot match quality and family that is a large part of Pa. hunting tradition.
Quote from Greg Levengood, USP Member:
“I concur with Randy Santucci 100%…..I HATE the Saturday Opener, and most hunters I talk with feel the same way. As was stated in the newspaper article, it’s “a big blur” from Thanksgiving Day to Opening Day – just “rush, rush, rush”, and then it’s over.
Not only have we lost the joy of seeing deer in Deer Season as a result of excessive numbers of doe permits, DMAP tags, and now a statewide concurrent gun season, the Saturday Opener has sucked the life out of Deer Camp – the most wonderful time of the year…..😞
From an “opportunity” standpoint, there’s been no change in hunter participation. Most hunters hunt the first day, half a day the second day, and then they’re on their way home or back to work. It doesn’t matter if the season opens on Saturday or Monday – that’s the way it is.
This issue is still a burr under the saddle of the majority of your stakeholders, and it’s not going away”.