By Ross Guidotti

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Warmer than average temperatures and mostly clear weather was expected as an estimated 750,000 hunters take to the woods as deer rifle hunting season opens in Pennsylvania.

Hunters in most areas can take bucks and does, though antlered deer only can be targeted in some areas through Dec. 6. The season runs through Dec. 14 and is starting later than normal because Thanksgiving was later than usual this year.

Pennsylvania’s deer season for rifle hunters traditionally opens the Monday after the holiday.

Several local schools have in-service days today, as kids take to the woods with their parents.

Bucks started arriving early at a deer processor in Finleyville.

Karen Kaufman of New Sewickley Township is part of a growing breed of women taking to the woods.

“When I first started, I was about the only girl in my high school that went hunting and it was special. But now there’s a lot of women out there,” she said.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti caught up with “magpie” who has been hunting for years. She brought in her 10-point buck.

She says she was in her tree stand about 6:45 a.m. Monday morning. She’s also not surprised more and more women are taking up hunting.

“We get tired of sitting at home waiting for him to bring the meat back, so we gotta get our own.”

Other hunters we spoke with say they found it fairly easy to bag their bucks.

Temperatures in lower elevations were expected to get into the mid-40s later in the day, and were hovering at or slightly above freezing as the season opened early Monday.

Mary Robb Jackson’s report:

On Magill road in Zelienople, a non-stop parade of Chevy trucks were pulling into “Elluinger’s” for deer processing.

“We’re having a very good season this year,” says David Elluinge. “We’re up a little bit from archery.”

Elluinge and crew have it down to a science, cleaning the carcasses, getting them into the cooler and then the cutters work overnight.

“That’s your steaks, chops, roasts and burgers,” he said.

What’s left becomes specialty items.

“Hot sausage, sweet sausage, kielbassi, bologna, sticks,” Elluinge said.

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