750,000 Pennsylvania hunters open 2-week rifle deer season

750,000 Pa. hunters open 2-week rifle deer season

While many hunted for online deals on "Cyber Monday," nearly 750,000 hunters took to the woods of Pennsylvania for the start of the two-week deer rifle hunting season.

The first day was a lesson in patience for Dave Kerns and his 11-year-old son, Austin, the latter of whom was on the hunt for his first time.

"I was expecting to get something, but not having much luck," he said.

The pair were part of a throng of hunters, many fathers and sons, like Matt and Steve Renschen, who took to the woods.

"We were out of the house by 3:30," Matt Renschen said.

For Lee and Dean Lakatosh, the first Monday after Thanksgiving is a 46-year tradition. For 76-year-old Dean, however, this is the first time since 1947 he's not tracking deer in his beloved Potter County.

"Health-wise, my dad can't get up there too often anymore. So, I stayed with him, had him on a local farm," said Lee Lakatosh. "It's just a tradition for me."

It's a tradition that may come with an added companion next year. A bill in Harrisburg, if it becomes law, would allow dogs to chase down a wounded deer.

Currently in Pennsylvania, dogs can only be used for turkey hunting. Twenty-seven other states allow dogs to track big game, like deer, but hunters 69 News spoke with don't necessarily think it's the best idea to bring to Pennsylvania.

"I just don't know if it's safe to have dogs running around the woods in the middle of hunting season," Steve Renschen said.

"One stray bullet and you have two wounded animals on your hand," said hunter Tim Lutterschmidt.

The bill would require the dogs to be trained and leashed.

Even if a deer isn't caught, a strong bond is often better than a big buck.

"Deer is icing on the cake. Talk to any hunter and they'll tell you the experience is what makes it happen," Renschen said.

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