As we head into a hunters favorite time of the year; that time when the air is changing, the nuts are falling, and the leaves start to change. We small game hunters look to the hills and wish the squirrel opener was here.
Unlike our neighboring states, Pennsylvania does not offer a squirrel season inline with our neighboring states. Instead, our Jr and other hunters are delayed from entering the woods for several weeks after others have been hunting.
Officially, the reason is 'LACTATING SQUIRRELS". It seems it would be unsavory to take down Ma Buck tooth, or Mrs. Bushy Tail.
Some of you know, other don't - I grew up in Western Maryland. For decades, 3-1/2 of them give or take a bit, the Maryland squirrel season opened on October 7th like clock work. It might slip a day or two one way or another to make the opener start on a Saturday. But October 7th was squirrel season.
In my circle of existence, family and friends went squirrel hunting. Often gathering at the end of the day to see who got what. This turned into a skinning party where the days take between all involved would easily be 30, 40, 50 squirrels.
Over all the years, all the seasons, I have never seen a lactating squirrel. Not once. I have seen lots of very small squirrels, but never a lactating one. I must mention that Maryland is southern to Pennsylvania where we warm earlier and stay warm later than Pennsylvania, making late litters more likely. But again, over the decades I never saw a lactating squirrel.
Now is the time folks to make a push on this. As you go about your daily activities and smell and see the changes that announce fall, and the desire to hunt grows daily is exactly the time to make your position known.
Demand a squirrel season that starts October 1st for Junior hunters and the following weekend for all others.
Mention the push for more people to get out and hunt, and the desire for more youth to be hunting. Mention the concerted efforts the GC is taking with the Gohuntpa.org program to attract new hunters. It makes no sense to deny an earlier season for what is arguably the most numerable game animal in the woods. More so after the procession limit was raised to 18 in April. Additionally, it is also the season a young hunter learns field craft that forever after forms the basis for all other types of hunting here in Pennsylvania, or across the world.
No one thinks for one second it is about lactating squirrels. If there is a safety concern, require an orange band above a hunter in a stand like hunters in a blind use. The regulation already exists. Fluorescent orange doesn’t alarm deer; more so when there is no movement. We know that. That fact was even used, and still is to encourage FO compliance across the hunting community.
I am sure the bow hunters will scream – but they are no different than anyone else in the desire to get out and hunt. The difference is, so far the GC caters to this group over others. There can no longer be a “X” season over other seasons. The ability to carve out dedicated blocks of time for one hunting activity at the determent of others can’t happen. We only have 365 days in a year to work with. Singularly dedicating and protecting one group for a prolonged period of the short hunting season is a practice that needs to end.
We either make this an issue or we let it go. Unless the people directly affected make a concerted effort to get his changes, it will never be changed.
Send your comments to the email below. Then resend it regularly and repeatedly until the final season and bag limit meeting in April. Only engaging once will not get the desired change. Keeping this thread alive and encouraging others to get involved will have an impact.
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