The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Phillies in a championship season create about the same excitement as the start of deer season does across Pennsylvania. Deer season and hunting is also big business with hundreds of thousand of people traveling within and to Pennsylvania's great hunting lands.
Like hunting in our woods, drilling is a very old activity in Pennsylvania, where 57,000 gas wells operate, the second highest number in the nation. Yet, the advent of the Marcellus shale boom has focused attention on the impact of drilling on hunting once more.
At this point, Pennsylvania is home to about 4,000 drilled Marcellus wells, with about half that number actually producing gas. So what has been the impact of gas drilling on hunting this season?
Not much, according to a front page article by Donald Gilliland in today's Patriot News. See http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/11/marcellus_shale_natural_gas_dr_1.html.
The article is largely anecdotal, though it reports the bear harvest is the second highest on record. It mentions some complaints about truck traffic and touches on fears about wildlife drinking drilling wastewater at impoundments.
But it seems that 2011 is another year when hunting and gas drilling have co-existed like many years in Pennsylvania's long, proud history.