I wrote an article on Deer Season a half century ago, focusing on my grandmother’s town in the mountains of Emporium, Pennsylvania. Each year, my grandmother and other households opened their doors and kitchens and beds to perfect strangers who came to town to shoot a deer—and there were no problems.
The piece was about more than Deer Season. It was about America, our culture, and how much this country and its people have changed.
The article really struck a chord, running in publications from the AmmoLand Shooting Sports News to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Especially interesting were the responses I got, with numerous readers weighing in with their own recollections. I thought it worthwhile to share a few of my favorites here:
From Sugarbare: “Back in the ‘60s, we left our guns in the cars parked at the high school so that we could immediately head for the woods as soon as school was out. Those who drove to school would store guns for those who were dropped off at school…. Yep, hunting season was an event.”
From Buzzard: “When I was in the second grade, I took my dad’s old .38 pistol to school for show-and-tell. Now days they would call in the SWAT team for a kid with an empty shotgun shell. What happened to our country?”
From Vdroddy: “Even in the 1960s and ‘70s, in Clarion County, Pennsylvania, we brought our hunting rifles to school just before Buck Season to show them off.”
From a Grove City College graduate, class of ’67: “I grew up about 20 miles from Emporium, Pennsylvania. You’ve described this area perfectly. What struck me about your article was the general trustworthiness—trusting [armed] people coming into your home. These men just wanted to hunt. When I was a kid, we used to go to the middle of town where there was a weighing station on the first day of Deer Season. We would all gather around to see who got the biggest deer. Everybody was there. We used to take our guns to school. After school, some of the teachers would hunt with us. They would drive deer for us. There was never any problem. Can you imagine that today? Those teachers would be arrested!”
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."