Subject: Deer Processors
By Randy Santucci

Bryan and commissioners,

After multiple contacts from individuals that dislike the new Saturday opener again this 3rd year, other problems are cropping up. A friend of my brother-in-law said his son went to 5 deer processors that were not taking any more deer. The concurrent season combined with now everyone packing in their hunting on the Saturday/Sunday has overwhelmed them. Although I did not read it, I understand there was an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette identifying this problem. I was told the processors claimed the old season’s structure allowed for the harvest to be spread out more.

I still struggle to accept most of the reasoning the board presented to support the Saturday opener, especially when most all evidence presented opposed it. That led to Jim Daley withdrawing his proposal and even resigning as a result of the vote. To put a “stick in the eye” of your long-standing hunters (hundreds of thousands) which included camp owners and many that are now feeling the rush of the Saturday right after Thanksgiving is still a mistake. License sales the first two years were unaffected by this and were affected by other influences that I will factually outline once again. If the 3rd year comes in with license sales un- impacted by the Saturday opener, then what? I struggle to understand all the emphasis on a low percentage of college-age hunters being used as a big part of the reason to destroy traditions and this big sales weekend for rural businesses and first responder fund-raising events. Not only are college hunters very few in relation to the entirety of our hunting class, but school conflicts also pass in a few short years. Dr. Jagnow reported to the board. ” They would miss class for a lot fewer reasons than the opening day of deer season” further reducing the number of college students missing deer season. A good percentage of the small percentage of college hunters went hunting anyway.

Your theory hunters with new jobs that had no vacation time and could not hunt the Monday were destroyed that first year when only 12 more hunters ages 22 to 34 bought licenses statewide!

You steered hunters away from small business patronage on “Small Business Saturday” many told me that was one of their top sales weekends of the year. The list of negatives is ridiculously long when compared with the benefits, hypothetical or otherwise.

I know some hunters and college students like Saturday but the big picture doesn’t wash. Putting the Monday opener back followed by 13 continuous days of hunting which would include 2 Sundays is the ultimate balanced and compromised decision, how can you not see that?

Hunting is about family in many instances. The 3 days after Thanksgiving provided the time to do all the hunting-related aspects that families did together. Scout their spots, last-minute gun sighting as many procrastinate leaving it to the last minute. Yes, camps needed that time too, and no Bryan camp owners are not some “Elite” group as you called them in a recent text between us. They were and are your ‘dyed in the wool’ hunters that worked a little harder to create the ultimate hunting experience for their friends and family. Many camps are crude and 2nd hand from top to bottom, but as the song goes ‘love grows best in little houses’ and rough camps fostered that same family effect.

After this year’s license sales are available soon, that will be my last piece of data to finalize my 3 years of tracking the opener change. I am aware there is a good possibility this battle will be lost, but I will go away presenting all the evidence that this decision hurt our beloved sport far more than it benefited it. I strongly believe the near future will bear that out. Most major events in society have a week of build-up to build the excitement, they don’t just happen.


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”.

Greg Levengood