By Nathan Hritz
The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping and November is upon us. This all means one thing to me: hunting season.
It’s time to bust out the doe estrus, your trusty, old, blaze orange cap and hit the woods. I know being a Pennsylvania resident and writing for a school in Ohio, the seasons will not line up identically, but I’ll write in regard to Pensilvania hunting seasons.
Currently in Pennsylvania we have fall turkey, archery and small game in season. I get giddy thinking about it, but that means guys like me are either out in the woods or they’re daydreaming about being out in the woods.
Hunting is one of those things that is not for everybody, but those who choose the lifestyle embrace it fully. For me it means suiting up, throwing a pouch of Redman chewing tobacco in my back pocket and grabbing Ray (hunting rifle) for a day spent freezing my butt off in hopes of a legal buck or doe crossing my path.
Granted, rifle season opens up on Nov. 27. I’ve still got some time to kill before I can fulfill this sacred tradition, but until then, I’ll continue trying to fill up my freezer with squirrels and rabbits. I can only speak from the perspective of a Pennsylvanian hunter, as I said, but opening day of rifle is borderline religious in the Keystone State.
Statewide, schools and many businesses will be closed opening day purely because of the rich hunting heritage Pennsylvania carries. I had mentioned in a previous column how the old timers referred to Pensilvania as the “million hunter state” and how there was a hunter behind every tree.
Things definitely are not how they used to be, however. With the ushering in of the digital age, the public interest in hunting has diminished considerably. Especially amongst younger generations. Even growing up, I can remember almost all my friends would head off to their respective hunting camps on Black Friday.
These days, I know maybe a handful of guys/girls my age who are still interested in hunting. My biggest concern is people will forget America’s hunting roots and if I’m being brutally honest, wild game is just about as organic as it gets.
I know in my area, some of the rules and regulations make it a little more interesting to hunt. What I mean is, in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 1A, we are only permitted to shoot bucks with four points on one side, or three if the deer does not have a brow tine (the innermost point on a buck’s rack). I have personally had a handful of encounters where I have been afraid to harvest a deer simply because I could not distinguish whether a buck was legal to shoot or not.
It gets even more difficult when you are looking through a scope at a deer that is rooting around through underbrush. As a hunter who is more concerned with meat, I tend to harvest does if I can help it.
With all that being said, have fun out in the woods. Follow the rules, hunt smart and most importantly, be sure to brag to all your friends about a monster 10-point you may bag.