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What is tradition? I see a lot of posts on here with people saying that changes in seasons, game populations, weapons, etc have ruined the tradition of hunting in PA. Is it really the tradition that is missed or just wishing that you could go back and relive that moment in time? Is the tradition still going on today and we just don’t see it?

I was never fortunate enough to be part of a deer camp up north like many on here, but growing up in SWPA in the 80’s and early 90’s we did have a strong tradition of deer hunting. Preparations were taken seriously and neighbors, family, and friends would discuss stand locations and deer drive strategies for weeks before the season. Posted ground wasn’t really an issue and we could walk anywhere we wanted to. Other than the first day, the rifle season strategy was pretty much non-stop deer drives especially on the two Saturdays. Since the drives were planned out, we would go from one drive to the next since everyone knew what their role and position was on the next drive. At the end of the day, you were physically exhausted, but it was a lot of fun. I can remember hunting after school a lot in those days. My dad would get home about 4:20 and would literally run up on the hill to make one quick push for me and my brother. We killed a lot of deer on those last minute deer drives. Part of me wishes that hunting in SWPA was still like this.

Why is this tradition not alive today? Probably the biggest reason is many of the people that took part are now getting up in age. While they still hunt, they aren’t going to walk all day to try and push deer. Hunting for many is not a priority like it was back then either. Life is busier and maybe they can only hunt a couple of hours instead of all day. It makes it tough to work together as a team when you lose your team at the end of the first quarter. No doubt land ownership and the posting of property have also crimped the tradition as well. We can’t walk anywhere we want to now. Hunting tactics have also evolved. You can blame it on TV, videos or whatever, but they have changed. I hate to admit it, but even if today we had the same seasons, game populations, etc., my old hunting traditions would still not be the same.

The one thing I realized the other day is that we still have tradition, but they have a new look to them. I just didn’t realize that they were there. The fun of checking the camera card in the trail camera has replaced the old night-time spotting trips. Figuring out treestand and blind locations has taken place of figuring out the strategy for the deer drives. Instead of my dad doing a last minute deer drive, my son and I are grabbing the crossbow after I get home from work to run up to the deer stand to hunt the last hour before dark.

I guess what I am getting at is if you are still out there doing it, you still have the traditions. They just look a little different than what they used too. Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at it to see what the new traditions are. I am sure that our kids one day will look back on these days and say those were the good old days when hunting had tradition. The other thing we have to realize that no matter how much we may want the look and feel of the old traditions, they are never coming back. We need to embrace the new traditions that we have, so we don’t miss out on the fun.
 

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The traditions with deer season have never died for me, but as you said not all of it is the same as when I started hunting back in the 70's. The part that continues that is the same is that come that Monday after Thankgiving we are all together at camp hunting & enjoying each others company just as the generation before us did for many years before us.
 

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It's changing, for some we can accept it, others won't till the end, some not at all.
 

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When i started hunting in the 70's the tradition was me, and my Dad, Uncle, Cousin, and brothers all getting together that Monday after thanksgiving to go buck hunting.My Dad, and brothers don't hunt anymore, and my cousin, and uncle now do their own thing, but i keep the tradition alive within my own family with my boy's, and soon my grandsons.I hope they carry on the tradition when I'm no longer able to get out.This is all the tradition i need.
 

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In all honesty, I don't think I have any real hunting traditions. I hunt wherever I feel I might have the best opportunities at whatever I'm hunting. Some seasons, thats in places I've hunted previously; others it's in new places I've either scouted on looked at on maps. I usually hunt alone, but have a couple close friends I try to get in a couple hunts with, along with my son who can't get out too often due to some health issues. I guess traditions don't mean that much to me because everything changes for me from season to season anyway. I just hunt however I can and wherever I think I need to.
 

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Back in the day, my dad and my brother and I would assume the same wooden treestands as we had in previous seasons. The plan was simple, climb into our position well before daylight and wait for hunters on the neighboring properties to move deer our way. That farm has since been sold, my dad passed away, and my brother has found himself a stand on a tiny piece of private land that doesn't have enough room for 1 much less 2 hunters (IMO anyway).

Post season scouting for bedding areas on public land and locating portable treestand locations for various wind directions has become my tradition these days. I monitor the winds and then refer to my log book of treestand locations prior to most hunts anymore. With my recent move, I am going to be spending a lot of free time in the woods patterning where the deer go to avoid the crowds and preparing treestand locations in woods that I haven't visited in almost 20 years...its like a new start, a new tradition all over again!
 

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Even though I do quite well hunting now days I would go back to the way it used to be in a heartbeat. Now I see houses in fields I killed alot of deer in and posters on the woods we used to hunt. Just 1 more day afield with my Dad and brother the way it used to be would mean the world to me but things change, people pass away, move away, etc. Now I hunt at my brother-in-laws with afew friends and that has become the tradition, not the same but tradition none the less.
 

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Completely agree about the good old days being right now. I have had better success in the last 10 years then the previous 25.
 

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I think it has a lot to do with your age using the word tradition. A young person starting something new in life weather it hunting , etc. doesent know the other side of the fence. As for hunting im old enough to be able to use the term more often than a 14 year old hunting. Change is very hard for most of us in anything. Im a life member of the local VFD. and seen so much change wich yieds broken tradition. One of the things in Pa. hunting i feel they went so long with out many changes, and the changes in the last 12 years have hit. Any change has to break a tradition some good some bad. I try to keep an open mind and most changes have been to help the hunter for more oppertunity.
 

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Most of what you describe as tradition, died with the proliferation of ATV's. With that came the noise and awareness, by land owners, of the extent of trespassing. Thence came a generation too lazy to walk and widespread posting of land.
 

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TRADITION: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.

My hunting resume includes many traditions, some are no longer. I also understand things change. Some of the changes my hunting group have made over the past decade have been fun and exciting and just might become a "tradition" some day.
 

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Tradition should be defined and influenced by the experience of the individual.
Too often individuals use their experiences(or imagined experiences) to define tradition, or a best tradtion, for everyone else.
One sees that associated with ruffed grouse hunting waaaay too often.
 
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