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Yo, PA, happy hunting

Today's the first day of deer hunting in Pennsylvania, and it's a big deal.

The first Monday after Thanksgiving is something of an official state holiday in Pennsylvania.

It's the first day of hunting season.

That means lots of schools across the state are closed and lots of residents take to the woods in hopes of bagging a deer.

How big a deal is it in the Keystone State?

Well, the most recent stats of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2013) shows only one state, Texas, has more hunting licenses than Pennsylvania. The service says Texas sold 1 million-plus licenses last year. PA sold 968,735.

No other state is close. And Texas has more than double PA's population and more than five times its square miles.

Also, according to the Lancaster newspapers' website, LancasterOnline: 1 in 16 state residents held a hunting license last year; 1 in 3 hunters got a deer; 352,000 deer were shot; and the economic impact of hunting in the state was $1.6 billion.

There's probably a lot of new firearms in play as well. The Washington Post reports that Black Friday is the nation's number one gun-buying day.

(The Post also reports an uptick in gun purchases -- measured by the number of FBI background checks -- in Missouri attributed to unrest surrounding the shooting death in Ferguson of unarmed teen Michael Brown. and notes gun sales also went up in the wake of the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.)