Deer and turkey hunters across the state may soon be required to leave their children at home when they head into the woods.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission will vote on two proposals that could change the future of the sport in the Commonwealth.
One proposal would alter the Mentored Youth Hunt Program, limiting the age for a child to hunt deer or turkeys to nine-years-old. Any child above the age of nine would not be affected.
The Commission says it's because some hunters are abusing the program. During a public board meeting Sunday afternoon in Dauphin County, opponents say conservation officers should be given tools they need to keep the abuse in check. Parents and their children also attended the meeting and say the proposals will ruin their family traditions.
"It brought tears to my eyes. I literally cried on film seeing my daughter harvest something for the first time ever. It's an emotional experience," said Ken Miller, an avid hunter from Halifax Township in Dauphin County.
"I feel sad and mad because I did this all my life and now they're taking this away from me and I can't believe that," added his daughter, Paige.
The other proposal would impact non-hunters on state game lands. Without a permit, a person would not be allowed to hike, cycle, snowmobile or horseback ride during hunting season.
The public board meetings will continue Monday and Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Game Commission is expected to vote on the proposals Tuesday.