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Hunting season latest victim of labor shortage

A report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, published in the weekend edition of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, that deer processing businesses across the state are limiting how many deer they take is, in many regards, unfortunate.

Part of the bottle-neck the processors are confronting stems from changes to the hunting season, allowing hunters greater opportunity to claim a deer. We are glad that a long-time tradition in rural Pennsylvania is adapting to better accommodate hunters. Milder temperatures also are drawing more hunters into the woods.

But processors also are stymied by the same labor shortage that is challenging just about every type of business.

Speaking broadly, this labor shortage is applying inflationary pressure on the prices we all pay for goods and services. It’s limiting the ability of businesses to meet the needs of their customers and frustrating customers and employers alike.

And more specifically, it’s frustrating hunters who want their deer butchered and in their freezers.

“We are at full capacity. The problem is there’s no help out there,” one Allegheny County processor told the Post-Gazette.

“It’s just too much,” a Westmoreland County processor said. “We can’t get all the deer done in time.”

We find it sad that a worry from our everyday lives must permeate even this tradition of our region, in which men and women often head into the woods as a respite from their daily concerns. And we see in how all-encompassing the impact of the labor shortage has become the urgent need for our public servants — at the federal, state and local levels — to prioritize finding solutions to help alleviate the impact of labor shortages.

Before it can disappoint Pennsylvanians setting out to enjoy our next tradition.

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