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Deer rifle season begins

WARRINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — While a lot of people were returning to work and school on Monday from Thanksgiving break, others extended their vacation just one more day. Monday marked the start of deer rifle season in Pennsylvania, and the PA Game Commission made some changes that hunters should know be aware of.

It was lunch time for John Brinser, who came all the way to York County from Hummelstown, dark and early, hoping to bag a buck.

“It’s been rainy,” Brinser said. “I haven’t seen a deer yet.”

Not alone, he's a part of the club that hasn't gotten lucky yet.

"Meh, I'm kinda bummed, yeah," Sean Harnish, another hunter, said. "I wish it wasn't raining as much. We just had all day rain Saturday. Just seems to be the way this year's going."

The Pennsylvania State Game Commission estimates more than 500,000 hunters will hit the game lands this season.

A rainy opening day brought out the most committed.

"It's the first day," Harnish said. "You don't want to pass up on the first day. You never know what's going to happen. If you get enough people out, get the deer moving, good chance you might get one. And then again, you get rained on, you just get wet."

One of the the bigger changes this year involves the expansion of the State's chronic wasting disease management areas, that carry special regulations.

Hunters aren't allowed to transport high-risk parts of their deer, which could spread disease, outside of the area. Also, semi-automatic shotguns can now be used across the State. Which, won't really make much of a difference for Harnish, according to him.

"Am I any good? No, not with bucks," Harnish said. "No, I've gotten a lot of does but bucks don't just roll my way very often."

As for some, the biggest issue: staying warm. Going home with the same number of bullets they came with; not enough to rain on their parade.

"I'm not upset," Natalie Harnish, another hunter, said. "I go out every year. Between any of us we usually get one so, it's just another day to look forward to to sit out here and enjoy the weather and  then see if we can get a buck or a doe next time."

Right now hunters can only shoot bucks, but starting Saturday they can begin shooting does.