HAMBURG, Pa. - Thanksgiving and Christmas are nice, but Monday is the preferred holiday for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. It's the opening day of rifle deer hunting season.
Huge crowds from across the state packed into Cabela's in Hamburg as hunters got last-minute supplies.
"It's a family tradition that we've always done every year," said Michael, a hunter from York.
That tradition meant stocking up for Monday's opening day.
"Buying ammo, and buying new hunting clothes," said Hunter Moffitt of Glenville.
"Socks, a new backpack," added Joseph Pietruch of Mooresville.
Hunting is big business. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania estimates a $4.8 billion impact every year statewide. For many, it's the Keystone State's unofficial "holiday."
"My vacation time goes in for work every year for rifle season," said Pietruch.
A lot of people will tell you there are fewer deer out there. Well, yes and no. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, fewer deer are being tagged, but that's partly because there are fewer hunters out there.
Still, the state expects 750,000 hunters between now and Dec. 8, the last day of firearms season.
"I like going out and spending time with family and going around in the woods," said Moffitt.
"It's the people," added Pietruch. "It's what they were brought up with. Everybody around here -- deer hunting. It was always the thing to do."
For more information on hunting anf tagging rules, click here: www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=576240&mode=2
Allentown, PA 18102