MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – It’s been a tradition since 1963 for Pennsylvania deer hunters to hit the trails on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
“I didn’t start deer hunting until the 1970s, so its been over 40 years that I have been a deer hunter,” said Outdoor Writer and Deer Hunting Traditionalist Don Feigert.
Don Feigert may already be familiar to you. He has worn many hats other than a blaze orange hunting cap.
“Deer hunting is most important time of the year. It’s the most important activity those of us who love the outdoors are engaged in,” said Feigert.
He has been an English teacher, college professor and a favored outdoor writer. But most of all, he is a deer hunting traditionalist.
However, this year the tradition changes.
“We are going to have to change this year because there is a huge change in Pennsylvania and they have gone to a Saturday opening day. They have been talking about for years. I have resisted it. I am a traditional guy,” said Feigert.
Since 1963, for PA deer hunters, young and old, the Monday after Thanksgiving has been only the opening day.
At the school Don taught, the schools have cancelled classes for the first days of hunting season, since half the students would be absent with what they call ‘buck fever’.
“Traditionally we have all gone up the day after Thanksgiving, so its a Friday and that gives us three full days to do all the things that we like to do and we need to do to prepare for the hunt,” said Feigert.
Feigert has been going to the same cabin to deer hunt since 1986.
A lot of work goes into being prepared to sit quietly for hours in the woods on a cold November morning.
“It’s different from person to person..But we are not big advocates of moving to the Saturday hunt,” said Feigert.
The state Game Commission is moving the long-standing traditional season open to the Saturday after the holiday.
They say they’re trying to get more people involved in the sport and they think they’ll accomplish that by having the season start on Saturday.
“We will have the Thanksgiving brunch, we will go up on Thanksgiving, we will prepare for the hunt on Thursday and Friday. We will hunt on Saturday. Sunday we will sleep a little, kick back, watch football and go back out on Monday. That’s the best we can do,” said Feigert.
The change of the start date to buck season will effect hunters, retailers and overall turn-out.