Flourescent orange vests and hats filled wooded areas throughout the commonwealth on Saturday as the start of the firearms deer season got underway.
Tyrique Rozier, of Johnstown, found a spot near Seward Saturday morning for the first day of deer season. The 19-year-old said he waited patiently along with his grandfather and uncle, before taking down a 10-point buck later in the afternoon.
Rozier plans to go hunting again on Monday for an even bigger score, but said it was nice to have the extra day to spend hunting with his family.
“I think it’s a lot better for other people that work,” Rozier said. “There’s a lot more people in the woods now moving the deer around, so I like it better.”
Rozier was one of several people in line at Thomas Smoked Meats, located in the 300 block of Fernwood Drive, Johnstown, Saturday afternoon. The deer processing shop, near the Ideal Fire Department building in Conemaugh Township, Somerset County, saw it’s fair share of customers throughout the day, but it was just another day in the shop, according to Adam Thomas, the business’ owner.
“I can’t say that I’ve really seen a drastic difference today,” Thomas said. “I think most of the people that wanted to hunt are off on Monday anyways, but it’s been good with a solid turnout. The weather has been good, which I think is one of the key factors for sure.”
The local business owner said the change to the start of deer season didn’t appear to be making huge difference now, but feels it will quickly catch on.
“I think some people are definitely happy about it – it gives them another day in the woods,” Thomas said. “I think it will become the new tradition and people will like it.”
As the crew at the butcher shop Saturday afternoon appeared to work almost in sync – taking order after order – patrons continued to fill in near the front counter.
In line was Mike Pollock, of Boswell, who said he was looking forward to picking up his deer bologna later in the week.
Pollock, who admitted that he doesn’t get out to hunt as much as he used to, said Saturday’s start to the deer season provided a moment for him and his son to spend some much needed time together.
“I’m not into as much as I used to, but my son was home from college so I took him out.
He had three hours to hunt and he was lucky enough to get one,” Pollock said. “I personally would rather not have it on Saturday’s but it does work out for the college kids.
“Most of them were not going to be able to go out Monday with school, so that is a benefit to it I guess.”
With the Pennsylvania Game Commission moving the start of the firearms deer season to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it now creates an 13-day season that includes three Saturdays.
On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 147, lifting the state’s ban on Sunday hunting, which will take effect in 2020.