LYCOMING COUNTY -- This year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission expects about 550,000 hunters were out for the first day of rifle deer season. Newswatch 16 caught up with three generations of hunters looking to bag a buck in Lycoming County.
"We hunt everything, bow, rifle, any kind of sport, we are out there hunting,” said Brian Anstadt.
If you combine their experience, Brian and his brother Eric Anstadt have been hunting about as long as their dad Lou has.
"Been a hunter for 60 years," said Lou Anstadt. "Usually I have a deer by this time but not this morning," he continued.
On the first day of rifle deer season, three generations of Anstadt men were out on their family's property in Mill Creek Township near Farragut hunting.
"For me personally, I just enjoy getting out with the kids. With my two boys and their children,” said Lou.
"For me, it's all about family tradition and passing down tradition,” said Brian.
"We used to see a lot more people. It would look like a pumpkin patch on the first day of deer season, but over the past 10 or 15 years, you see the numbers steadily declining," said Eric Anstadt.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, there is some truth to that. Hunting license sales have been steadily dropping since the early 1980s. Sales are down about 2.5 percent from last year, but in much of Pennsylvania, many schools still take off for the occasion.
"I think it's a wonderful tradition that the state of Pennsylvania sort of closes down for deer season," said Eric. "Even when people aren't going into the woods, people still look forward to that day and people in Pennsylvania know it's the first day of deer season,” he continued.
As for Brian, he's hoping this will be the first of many rifle deer seasons with his 9-year-old son Connor.
"Hopefully today we get his first buck,” said Brian.
Rifle deer season ends on December 9.