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Local Fishing and Hunting

PA Deer Season Change OK’d By Game Commission

The PA deer season change is a go.

Commissioners at the Pennsylvania Game Commission on Tuesday approved a proposal to move the first day of deer season up by 2 days.

Instead of being the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the next firearms deer season in Pennsylvania will start the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

This year, that means deer season will start Nov. 30 instead of Dec. 2.

It’s a seemingly innocent change but it messes with decades of tradition.

Many schools in Schuylkill County are either closed or mostly empty on the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

It’s a big day for many families and it carries with it, a lot of tradition. It’d be like moving the Super Bowl to a Tuesday.

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The Game Commission says the schedule change will create a 13-day season. That includes 3 Saturdays.

Game Commissioners plan to finalize this plan at their next meeting in April. They’ll also decide if semiautomatic rifles can be added to a hunter’s arsenal.

In 2018, hunters were permitted to carry and use a semiautomatic shotgun for big game.

In order to make this proposed schedule change, the Game Commission says it will have to shorten turkey season in late November to allow hunters with firearms into the woods.

Here are some of the other schedule changes the Game Commission is proposing for the 2019-2020 season:

  • Expanding the mid-October muzzleloader and special firearms deer seasons to include bears statewide
  • Increasing length of statewide archery bear season by 2 weeks
    • Shift season to two weeks following muzzleloader and special firearms bear seasons
  • Expanding 4-day extended bear seasons to 6
  • Elk seasons: September archery season and a January antlerless season

Game Commissioners are accepting public comments on this proposal until their next meeting. You can email them at

Opinions on the changes so far have been wide-ranging and plentiful.

Deer Season Change Good for Students

Some people told WNEP-TV on Tuesday that the change is likely good for students and people with jobs that don’t allow them to miss for the first day of hunting on a Monday.

Those are good points. There’s an advantage to going out in the field on the first day of the season but if you’re in school or stuck at work, that thrill and excitement is lost.

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… Bad for Business

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is a day after Black Friday and also known as Small Business Saturday.

One small hunting and outdoors business told WFMZ-TV that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is a busy day. If hunters are in the field, that’s a big lost shopping day


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