"Never shoot where you can't see."
Keep your place and silent be;
Game can hear, and game can see;
Don't be greedy, better spared
Is a pheasant, than one shared.
You may kill, or you may miss,
But at all times think of this
"All the pheasants ever bred
Won't repay for one man dead."
- Mark Hanbury Beaufoy
Mr. Beaufoy lived most of his life more than a century ago in a land in which large game hunting was rare, the sport most often occupied with the pursuit of fowl, rabbits or fox.
Yet his poem, "A Father's Advice," concludes with the lines above, which are just as important during the first "real" day of deer season in Pennsylvania as they were to a young hunter in the rolling countryside of England.
On Monday, thousands of hunters will journey into Penn's Woods looking to harvest a white-tailed deer, and hopefully one bedecked with a large rank of antlers.
Each of them will be armed with a fairly large-caliber rifle capable of taking the life of a deer at several hundred yards, and, obviously the life of another hunter.
That all of this fire power unleashed by so many people at the same time doesn't result in scores of human casualties every year is testimony to the care and attention paid by hunters and Pennsylvania's important Hunter Education program.
Still, it never hurts to offer a reminder from Mr. Beaufoy's pen, which is as true today as it was when it was written.