The family tradition of hunting in Pennsylvania began before Penns Woods had even become a state. In 1683 hunting was permitted as a right of ownership on all land covered by Mr. William Penn’s Charter. The family tradition of an actual “deer season” in the Keystone State did not begin until 1869. At this point in history, the men did the hunting to put food on the table, and it served as a rite of passage from boy to manhood.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission was founded in 1895 to govern the state’s outdoors and hunting population. Since then, hunting in Pennsylvania has been evolving and changing with each passing season. The most significant change that produces the monster bucks we see today occurred in 2002 when Dr. Gary Ault’s antler restrictions and deer management program were put into effect. This helped to eliminate the harvesting of so many young bucks, allowing the deer to grow older and produce bigger antlers.
Tip of my Webb Weekly camo hunting cap to this year’s Uncle Ron’s Monster Buck winner, 14-year-old Haley Mumma. Her 18 point, 183 2/8 SCI scoring monster is an example of our Game Commission’s deer management success, the tradition of family hunting, and the changing face of the Pennsylvania hunter all coming together. If you missed Ken Hunter’s column about Haley, you can find it in the February 6th edition or at webbweekly.com.
Monster bucks have become commonplace in Penns Woods and so have lady hunters. Last year it was then Liberty High School senior Abby Heatley winning our contest with an 18-point tank scoring 173 7/8 SCI. Our sisters, daughters, mothers, and even grandmothers have taken the family tradition of hunting in Pennsylvania and across our Country to a whole new level. How fantastic is that!
Currently, in Pennsylvania, just about 11% of the hunters are female. Since 2010 there has been a 44% increase in lady hunters in our state. This season right around 100,000 women hunted in PA. Across our great Country female hunting is up over 19%. It is estimated that there are 3.5 million ladies currently hunting in our Nation. Since the year 2000, the sisterhood of hunting has grown by 85% across the United States.
Now that’s what I call empowerment! For this many young ladies and women to be involved in hunting is amazing. A true testament that the American family is alive and well and that women, from sea to shining sea, will protect the outdoors and our great hunting tradition.
Young ladies who love the outdoors can aspire to be anything they want to be today. Maybe Haley or Abby will be the next Taylor Drury as seen on The Outdoor Channel’s 13 “Hunting and Drury Outdoors.” Taylor is a teenage star in today’s world of outdoor TV. There is also Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, The husband-wife Duo of “The Crush.” Tiffany is the co-star that has gone from hunting wife to a mother raising future hunters right before the viewers’ eyes. “Raised Hunting” on the Discovery Channel features the Holder family in Iowa. Karin Holder is the matriarch of the household and does everything from hunting and filming hunts to keeping order in a household full of men. The one thing all these shows have in common is the tradition of an All-American hunting family with strong Christian values and a love for our great land.
The opportunity now for women in outdoor and hunting related careers is endless. There are lady game conservation officers, whitetail wildlife biologists, hunting guides — the list goes on and on. Women are now professionally involved with everything that is hunting. One thing is definitely for sure — it is now fashionable for the ladies to wear camo and orange.
One last item in wrapping up our Uncle Ron’s Big Buck Contest, we had 68 entrants this season. Thank you to everyone for sharing those trophy bucks with us. I am proud to say Webb Weekly will be donating $1,320 toward the fight against MS. This equates to twenty bucks each for each buck registered. Hope to see you again next season.
An Evening Out to Help Our Wounded Warriors
If you enjoy the outdoors, wild game cuisine, and supporting the men and women that provide our freedom, I have just the event for you.
Barry Sones, the owner of Nightingale Hunting Preserve, will be holding his 7th Annual Wild Game Dinner and Auction – benefiting the Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors. The event will take place Saturday, February 23rd at the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Hall, at the corner of South Railroad Street and Water Street. Doors open at 4 p.m., dinner is at 5, and there’s a live auction at 6 p.m., with a big game hunting slideshow to follow.
The auction this year will include a mountain bike donated by Marty’s Bicycle Shop, hunting and fishing themed baskets, numerous gift cards for area businesses, and my favorite, an outdoor print courtesy of my good friend Ken Hunter.
The Big Game menu will feature moose BBQ, venison hot sausage, venison Swedish meatballs, mule deer bologna, venison chili, chukar noodle soup, and more salads and desserts than you can shake a stick at. If you go away hungry, it’s your own fault.
The best part about the event is that all proceeds will benefit the Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors, the money staying right here at home to help those veterans that have given so much for our Great Nation. Through your support and generosity over $70,000 has been raised by the Dinner and Auction through the years. Tip of my Stars and Stripes Wounded Warrior cap to Barry, Rachel and all the good folks that have organized and helped with the event over the years.
Tickets for the event are a minimum $15 donation. This also gets you registered for some great door prizes.
To purchase tickets, make a monetary donation, or to donate an item for the auction you can reach Barry at 570-419-4749 or Rachel at 814-282-0616. You may also email Barrysones@gmail.com.
God Bless America.