PA Deer Season Begins Nov. 30th
HARRISBURG – The state’s biggest draw for hunters is set to begin the Monday after Thanksgiving, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe, when the two-week firearms deer season opens.
“Fluorescent orange and camouflage clothing soon will be in fashion across the Commonwealth, and cars parked on the shoulders of roads that cut through forested areas or farming communities will be a common sight,” Roe said. “Deer season has a dramatic effect on the Pennsylvania; it provides hundreds of thousands of hunters a chance to put venison in the freezer, as well as stimulates a multi-million dollar economic surge that local businesses rely on.
“Deer season is the most important method that the Game Commission has been using for more than a century to manage Pennsylvania’s whitetails. The efforts of hunters are far-reaching, and they help to keep deer populations in check and enable the agency to meet deer management goals that benefit almost everyone who resides, visits or travels through this state.”
The Game Commission manages deer for a healthy and productive deer herd that provides recreational opportunities within acceptable ecological impacts and human conflicts. It’s a never-ending job, and one that will always be influenced by Pennsylvania’s changing landscape and the varying viewpoints of its residents. But, the agency is committed to providing sound deer management.
Dr. Christopher Rosenberry, Game Commission Deer Management Section supervisor, noted that hunters will need to make sure that they have done their pre-season scouting, as fall food conditions will impact deer movements.
“Deer will respond to food availability and hunter pressure, both of which can vary from year to year, and from one area to another,” Rosenberry said. “Our fall food survey suggests that almost all hard and soft mast species produced well this year. As a result, wildlife may be more widespread in forested areas. As always, pre-season scouting can improve a hunter’s chance for success this year.”
For the second year, deer season will open with a five-day, antlered deer-only season in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B, from Nov. 30-Dec. 4. It is followed immediately in these four WMUs by seven days of concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer hunting beginning Dec. 5 and continuing through Dec.12. The rest of the state follows the two-week concurrent, antlered and antlerless season – Nov. 30-Dec. 12 – that has been in place since 2001.
The changes to these four WMUs are being studied by Game Commission biologists and the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State University to learn more about the relationship between antlerless allocations and season length.
The Game Commission will use a four-year study to determine the impact and effectiveness of the five-day antlered/seven-day concurrent season before additional WMUs may be considered for this season configuration. It also will assess hunter satisfaction with the modified season structure in the four WMUs.
Hunters must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined at all times while afield during the seasons. They also are advised that it’s illegal to hunt, chase or disturb deer within 150 yards of any occupied building without the occupant’s permission if they are using a firearm, or 50 yards if they are using a bow or crossbow.
All hunters who take a deer must fill out their harvest tag and attach it to the deer’s ear before moving the carcass. The tag can be secured to the base of the ear with a string drawn very tightly, if the hunter plans to have the deer mounted. Cutting a slit in the ear to attach the tag will require additional work by a taxidermist.
Deer hunters in certain Wildlife Management Units with an unused bear license also are reminded they may take a bear in the state’s extended black bear season. Bear licenses must be purchased prior to Nov. 30 to participate in these hunts. For more information, including hours and locations for bear check stations during the extended season, please see the bear section of the 2009-10 Digest on pages 34-36.
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