In case you live or hunt in PA and didn’t hear, Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers have recently regressed to the title of “Pennsylvania Game Warden”. This title apparently better reflects their actual job duties, that mostly revolve around protecting the Wild Wild Life.
Pennsylvania Hunter Education 2016. I couldn’t have been happier or more proud to take my son to Pennsylvania hunter education class. Hunter ed classes fill up fast and I watched the Pennsylvania Game Commission registration webpage like a hawk to ensure my boy would have a seat at the table- the exact same table I sat at 34 years ago. This time around it was Adult Education.
Pennsylvania Hunter Education: Nothing Has Changed
There are exactly two things that have changed inside the fish & game club room where I took hunter education 34 years ago. First, there are now “No Smoking” signs on the wall. Second, there are no ashtrays on the tables. Other than that, the room is exactly as it was in 1982 and for that matter probably 1962. “No One” has been allowed in the kitchen of this establishment in quite some time.
Teaching Hunter Education Class
Thank goodness for the volunteers that taught the class. It was group instruction with no One On One. The lead instructor carried the class and had his presentation down pat. His assistant seemed to be a kind man and he and delivered his material equally well. A Wildlife Conservation Officer was present and lectured the class on laws, regulations, hunter image, and a few other topics that I lost in a web of tangents. His presentation skills were lacking. He seemed Out Of Touch and was probably close to retirement.
Teaching An Old Dog
This old brittany has maintained a staunch point for the past 50 years or so- maybe more. It’s hard to say how many hunter ed classes he’s sat/pointed through. Flanked by an English pointer and an English setter, he’s heard it all and back in the day he was forced to endure cigarette smoke so thick the Marlboro Man would choke. This old dog has observed countless lectures. I wondered how much longer he would remain on the wall. I imaged how someday he’d be considered worthless and unpinned from the wall and discarded. I briefly considered ways that I might save him from such a fate.
Hunter Education- Everything Has Changed
During a break while nobody was looking, I asked the old pointer his thoughts on the new school compared to the old school. Here’s what’s new in Pennsylvania hunter education:
- Instructors teach to the test
- Numerous girls and women attend the class
- Minimal coverage of trapping, heavy firearms safety and little coverage of hunting regulations
- Lots of instructional videos, some cheesy, and some sobering
- Surprisingly heavy coverage of muzzle loading equipment (Test Tip: The “L” shaped piece on the lock is called the F-R-I-Z-Z-E-N).
- There are plenty of breaks
- The instructor reads the test questions aloud so that each student can complete the test at the same pace
There was a lot of focus on firearms safety and minimal coverage of actual hunting regulations. In fact, I’d say that one third of the class centered around firearms and safe handling techniques. It goes to figure. The PGC wants to keep itself and its hunters safe in the field. It doesn’t make front page news when a hunter exceeds his bag limit or is caught hunting past curfew but shoot a turkey hunter in the face with a load of #4 shot… And they barely covered trapping. It seemed like they Did It In A Minute. The instructors glazed over the regulations on tending traps but made sure the class was clear that only BEAVERS could be snared.
Lunch Time At Hunter Education Class
The instructors explained that the hunter education class was funded by an excise tax. The class and materials right down to the free hotdogs and chips were brought to you by Pittman-Robertson. A lady behind the counter announced that the class was welcome to come up for seconds, thirds, and even forth servings if we so desired. She admitted they’d end up in the trash if uneaten.
Hunter Education Test Time
After close to 7 hours of lecture and instruction it was time to take the test. It was clearly not the first rodeo for the lead instructor and he ran his test session in a military-like fashion. Adults not taking the test were ushered to the back of the room. He bluntly informed his students to maintain Private Eyes. If they were to be caught cheating, they just wasted their entire day. He read the test questions aloud clearly so that each student could give each answer careful consideration before moving on the next question.
Pencils Down. Hunting School’s Out
Upon the completion, the students graded each other’s tests. Our class had a 100% pass rate. A young girl hurried outside after the test and smiled triumphantly while she announced to her mother that she passed via smartphone. Not far away three elven year old boys huddled together and confided in each other. It turns out that each boy missed two questions each. I told my son that I was proud of him and that he Made My Dreams (come true).
Hunting With Ozonics Is Illegal In Pennsylvania- Now What?
When I learned that Ozonics, a battery-powered ozone emitting device that is purported to eliminate human odor from a hunter’s stand, was illegal in Pennsylvania, I almost broke down and cried.
Continue reading Ozonics
A Yankee Hunter EXCLUSIVE*
Cumberland County- Pennsylvania
In a shocking move the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) apparently canceled the 2015 whitetail rut. Hunters all across the state are questioning the purpose of the alleged move that has buckless nimrods from Pittsburgh to Philly hot under the collar.
So where are the bucks this season? Ask the Pennsylvania Game Commission because this season the deer seem to be underground and the harvest is well below normal. Some blame it on the balmy temps and the unusual amount of standing corn still in the fields but others know better. The PGC has yet to own up to this but the evidence is real. Statistics gathered from social media sites like Facebook prove that PA hunters are posting 12% fewer success photos and Twitter shows a lack of “tweets” hash tagging “#rutting bucks”. An Instagram hashtag search for #parut lends credence to the accusation:
Of 100% of hunters surveyed by YankeeHunter.com, 37 percent think the PGC is up to dirty work; 32 percent think the rut is simply late this year; 22 percent stayed home to watch Penn State football; and 15 percent believe the 1969 lunar landing was indeed a hoax.
Pennsylvania bowhunters bank on the rut to fill their buck tag and book their vacation time a year in advance for the event but this year, the rut never got off the ground. To further support “the year without a rut”, as it’s being called, the author was unable to fill his archery buck tag this year.
“How else could it have happened?”, says Rusty Harbanger. Harbanger, a Pike county Pennsylvania hunter for the past 30 seasons says he’s never seen anything like it. “I’ve been hunting since I’ve been a kid and never, and I mean never have I seen such a lousy fall rut.” Like others, Harbanger is convinced that the PGC had a hand in the deal.
Hot on the heals of a lame spring turkey season, the PGC is taking criticism for the alleged move. Some, like Harbanger, think that former PGC deer biologist Gary Alt may have had a hand in the rut cancellation.
Harbanger quipped, “I haven’t shot a buck since this Pennsylvania QDM crap kicked in. (Alt) wanted us to not kill any deer and I guess his plan worked. It just took a while for the rut cancellation phase of his plan to kick in. Well, it worked.
Stealing the rut like the Grinch stole Christmas. It’s just wrong.”
PGC press secretary Travis Lau has declined to decline to comment let alone acknowledge the 2015 rut cancellation.
*Author’s note: This news article has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Author didn’t really see much in the way of bucks this bow season and failed to even get a shot at the buck. The Author is in fact a strong supporter of the PGC during years where he manages to arrow a buck.