Deer hunters prepare for the start of rifle season

WARRINGTON TWP., Pa. - The rifle deer hunting season kicks off on Monday, and hunters are optimistic about their chances of bagging a buck.

"A big part of it is having a place to go hunting," said Ben Martinke of Dillsburg. "So I'm going out tomorrow with my wife's pappy, he's already scouted a place for us to go. Today, I'm just here to get my rifle sighted in and make sure I'm all ready to go for that."

While some hunters are content using the state game lands, others can get access to other land in the hopes of a successful hunt.

"I've been out for probably the last 6 months scouting in the woods trying to find a spot," said Christopher Deitz of Red Lion. "It's a little hard to find a spot anymore with everybody posting their land."

Deitz has been hunting for more than 30 years.

"You definitely want to practice, because shot placement is everything," he said. "I mean, you don't want to go out and cripple animals."

The Pennsylvania Game Commission says hunters may need to be patient for their opportunity.

"We have similar deer numbers in most areas as we had last year, and the year before that, and over this time that we've seen the increase," said PA Game Commission spokesperson Travis Lau.

There is plenty of food for deer like acorns and crabapples, which means they don't have to move as much to find it, making them harder to spot.

"The warmer the weather, often times the lower the success, because hunters are content to stay on stand," Lau said. "They move less, they trigger fewer deer movements through the lack of their own movements."

Hunters say they are looking forward to the season, regardless of whether they are successful.

"It's just a great opportunity to get out in creation and to enjoy that, be in the outdoors, away from work, and breathe some fresh air," Martinke said.

The season lasts for two weeks, and in the second week, doe can be hunted as well.