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Archive → December, 2011

Pennsylvania’s Two Seasons: Road Construction Season, and Deer Season

Pennsylvania has two seasons, road construction season, and deer season.

Road construction season starts in May and ends in October, while deer season starts in October and ends in January. Four empty months of in-between time are filled with football playoffs and the Super Bowl, and trout season.

The Keystone State’s labyrinthine road system is infamous. Looking at a map of all public roads in the state reveals that there’s barely a square inch of place that is not within a mile of a road. Convenient say some, expensive operations and maintenance say others.

And for deer hunters and others who seek brief periods of solace away from the sounds of men and machines, such proximity to infrastructure is usually frustrating.

Today, for example, I hunted a local farm that I manage. It’s a lovely place, adjoined by about 50,000 acres of public land on either side, so theoretically it is buffered. Hunting there should be a relatively quiet and contemplative affair. Unfortunately, the valley it is in is not so quiet. Endless tires on pavement, whether going to work in the morning or returning in the afternoon, just hearing the quiet, peaceful chirp of a nuthatch or a chickadee takes effort.

It usta be, in the old days, that building roads was the answer to employment problems. Roads were built helter-skelter, without regard for their function, service, or cost. The Casey Highway (To Nowhere) in northeastern Pennsylvania is a prime example. Roads do serve a critical function, but they also cost a hell of a lot to maintain. They impact the open spaces around them, and introduce what were remote deer populations to the hoods of cars across the state. Therefore, it would seem to be a prudent use of limited public funds to focus on fixing the roads we already have instead of building new ones.

Let’s not have road construction create a new deer season for motorists.