Another First: Deer Hunting at Tinicum’s John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Markeeta Holmes, 25, of North Philadelphia, takes target practice with a mentor at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. Image via Emma Lee/WHYY.

Hunting license requests are down in Pennsylvania, so seasoned hunters are trying to interest newcomers with an eight-day deer hunt at the John Heinz National Refuge in Tinicum, writes Eimena Conde for WHYY.

“I’ve become interested in how can I pass it along to new folks and a more diverse group and… people who don’t have someone to show them,” said Pat Oelschlager , a Bucks County hunter.

Oelschlager is volunteering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Pennsylvania Game Commission for the first mentored whitetail deer hunt at the Refuge.

The hope is to convince people that hunting is important for wildlife management and sustainability.

It’s unlikely the novice hunters will cull the deer population at the Refuge, which stands at 100 deer per square mile instead of 30.

The hope is they’ll get a taste for the experience and seek additional outings outside the city with help from a mentor.

The sale of annual hunting licenses and a federal excise tax on firearms and archery equipment help pay for conservation in the commonwealth. A dip in license sales means less money for wildlife management and habitat protection.

Read more about the Heinz Refuge hunt here.

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