Deer season means full woods, empty workplaces

Written by Brett Sholtis and Gary Haber/York Daily Record | Nov 30, 2015 3:06 AM

Throughout York County, some shop floors and cubicles clear out for deer hunting.

(Undated) -- For hunters, few days are more anticipated than the first day of rifle deer season Monday. The exhilarating possibility of getting a shot at a trophy buck draws hunters away from their normal routines and into the woods.

For the businesses that employ those hunters, however, the start of rifle deer season can be anything from a minor nuisance to an official holiday.

At BAE Systems' facility in West Manchester Township, Nov. 30 -- the opening day of the nearly two-week window when hunters can hunt deer with rifles -- is a paid holiday for the approximately 300 unionized workers who are members of the United Steelworkers, said Megan Mitchell, a company spokeswoman.

Harley-Davidson's plant in Springettsbury Township doesn't produce motorcycles on the first day of deer hunting season. The company's hourly employees get an unpaid day off, said Bernadette Lauer, a company spokeswoman.

The annual exodus for the opening of deer hunting season is "something we've all had to live with for many years," said Carolyn Lerew, past president of the York chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, an association of human resources professionals.

Lerew informally surveyed several of the chapter's members. Two of them, both manufacturing companies, said they limited the number of people who can take off work on the first day of deer hunting season because so many people want the day off.

At Capway Automation in York, between 20 percent and 25 percent of the 41-person workforce will be off the opening day of deer season, said Keith Shoff, the company's president and CEO.

"Deer hunting is like a national holiday," said Shoff, who led a recent management buyout of the company, a manufacturer of equipment for the food industry.

"You kind of naturally plan around that day," he said.

That's a lesson York County business people know well.

At Keystruct Construction in Manchester Township, between 10 to 15 of the company's 30 to 40 employees will be off for the first day of deer hunting season, said Jerry Watson, the company's president.  Some employees will take off just the first day, while others will take off the entire week. A few will extend their hunting vacation into a second week.

"We're hardest hit the first week, but there are some people who will take a day or two off the second week," Watson said.

The Wyndham Garden hotel in West Manchester Township is renovating its Ballroom of the Roses event space. Michael Hough, one of the hotel's owners, said he scheduled the work so that most of it would be done before deer hunting season starts.

"It's impossible to get anybody to work those weeks," he said.

At Young's Farm Service and Repair in Chanceford Township, owner Trent Young said all four of his diesel mechanics are hunters, and he gives them paid vacation during the first week of deer season.

Young said he grew up deer hunting, and he also takes off work during deer season. He said he wanted to give the same opportunity to his employees.

"I don't really look at the expense so much," Young said. "I want my employees to be happy and enjoy what they're doing."

This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF.

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