For openers this week, I feel obligated to briefly comment on the new situation In Washington, D.C. I cannot help but have a sense of foreboding where our gun rights are concerned, given the promises made by the administration before the election. It is brutally obvious that they feel that us regular folks should not have guns. I’m not just pulling this out of my hat. They are on record as saying these things. Never forget that, if they can take your buddy’s AR-15, they can take your hunting guns as well. We had better really be on our guard.
Now, for the topic I promised last week. That is the whole issue involving senior hunters in Pennsylvania. It is important to note that I had the same opinions before I qualified as a senior hunter as I do now that I am in this category.
I believe that senior hunters should be exempted from antler restrictions, just as so many other hunters are. After all, we paid for a hunting license for many years, before qualifying for a senior license, We introduced many to the sport of hunting. Many of these folks are now buying licenses today, generating substantial revenue for the Game Commission. This entitles us to more fair consideration than we are given at the present time.
Why should seniors be exempt from antler restrictions? First of all, I should state that I totally support the exemption for members of the armed forces. These people are serving our country, often at the risk of their lives, and they deserve every consideration. This, however, is not true of the other exempted classes, such as junior hunters and kids participating in the Mentored Youth Program. If antler restrictions are such an essential conservation tool, why are these people exempt? As I have stated before, I consider the Mentored Youth Program to be a joke. Try as I might, I just cannot believe that some of those little kids actually bagged a deer. To me, that means that some adults are taking advantage of the antler exemption.
With all of that said, the question comes up as to why I think seniors should be exempt from the restrictions. As already mentioned, they paid for licenses for many years. Often, this amounts to fifty three years. Some argue that seniors, most of whom are retired, have more time to hunt than other folks. While that may be technically true, a lot of seniors are limited by their physical condition as to how much time they can spend afield. In my own case, I used to be able to hunt all day with no problem. That is no longer the case. In addition, our hearing and eyesight are not what they used to be. It is hard to count points when you have to take the time to squint. The old legs can’t stand as much walking, and the cold is much quicker to find its way to old bones.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no quarrel with trophy hunters. I am just not one of them. The most special buck I ever bagged was a spike, in 1977, on my last hunting outing with my dad. It was by no means a trophy, but it was very special to me.
I know that one of the biggest arguments for letting kids shoot any buck is allowing them to get their first buck. But what about us oldies who are focused on getting what could be our last.
As most readers know, I am opposed to antler restrictions in any form. It looks, though, like they are here to stay. At least, they should be administered with some level of fairness. Don’t count on it.