Senator Dan Laughlin, Chairman of the Senate Game & Fisheries Committee, applauded today’s 5-3 vote by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to move the opening day of rifle deer season to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“This is a great step forward by the Game Commission,” Senator Laughlin said of the vote. “I honestly believe from my own experience and from what I have heard from many others that moving the opening day will definitely spark greater interest in this sport.”
Senator Laughlin addressed the Game Commission at its Monday (April 8) meeting, where he urged the panel to move the opening day of the season from its traditional start on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
“Three years ago, my brother, our families, and I gathered for Thanksgiving at our hunting camp. All of our adult and near-adult children hunt, yet none of them bought a license that year,” he told the Commissioners. “The reason was that most had to either travel home on Monday for work or they had classes to attend at college. That is five hunting licenses that were not purchased. Our families lost the opportunity to hunt and make memories together in the great outdoors. We may never have all those people together again at the same time for a family hunt.”
Senator Laughlin added that his personal experience was emblematic of those from others across the state.
“As our hunter numbers continue to dwindle not only in Pennsylvania, but also nationally, the number one reason in every poll and article I’ve read for not hunting is lack of time,” he told the Commissioners. “If we do not take drastic and bold moves to make hunting more accessible to our children and young adults, many of whom have to work on Monday, or simply can’t afford to miss work, our sport and our numbers will continue to decline.”
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