HARRISBURG — As you’ve been hearing for the last several weeks, Monday marks the opening day of the two-week general deer hunting season.
Jerry Feaser, public information officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, reported that nearly 750,000 hunting enthusiasts sporting fluorescent orange and camouflage clothing will be hitting the woods at sunrise to try and harvest a trophy buck.
“It’s Pennsylvania’s only unofficial holiday — the Monday after Thanksgiving,“ Feaser said, adding that Pennsylvania’s deer season has a dramatic and beneficial effect on the Commonwealth, as it stimulates a multi-million dollar economic surge that local businesses rely on.
Feaser pointed out that in addition to being a rich part of our state’s heritage, deer season also is the most important method that the Game Commission has to manage Pennsylvania’s whitetail deer.
“The efforts of hunters are far reaching. They help 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,” Feaser said.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe noted that hunters will need to make sure 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,” Roe said. “Some areas have good acorn crops. Others have few or no acorns. So, as always, pre-season scouting can improve a hunter’s chance for success this year, particularly in the week leading up to the start of season.”
Feaser noted that deer season begins Monday with a five-day, antlered deer-only season in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2C, 2D, 2E and 2G, areas that include parts of Jefferson and surrounding counties.
“It is followed immediately in these WMUs by seven days of concurrent, antlered and antler-less deer hunting, beginning Saturday, Dec. 4, and continuing through Dec. 11,” Feaser said, adding that the rest of the state (including WMU 2F, which encompasses northern Jefferson County) follows the two-week concurrent, antlered and antler-less season Monday through Dec. 11.
Roe added that safety should be number one on every hunter’s list.
According to the Pa. Game Commission Web site, 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.
Feaser reminded hunters 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.
“During the two-week season, hunters may use any legal sporting arm,” Feaser explained. “Rifles are not permitted to be used in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware or Montgomery counties, and in Philadelphia, hunters may only use bows or crossbows.”
Feaser pointed out that 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,” Feaser said.
Roe noted that there is no concurrent bear season during any portion of this year’s deer season.
Hunters participating in this year’s deer seasons will also be able to file their harvest reports through the Game Commission’s Web site, www.pgc.state.pa.us.