What is the outlook for the first day of the deer hunting season on Saturday?

Traditional complaints of little or no deer being seen at the hunting grounds scheduled for the opening day of the deer gun hunting season on Saturday, November 28, have filled hunting groups on Facebook for many. years.

But at the same time, Pennsylvania’s deer hunters have amassed a series of successively larger deer harvests.

They saw the deer harvest increase for 3 consecutive years until the 2018-2019 season, when heavy rain worked against the hunters and kept the deer from killing on what is the biggest traditional day of deer hunting in the state.

Then, last year, hunters again recorded an increase of about 10 percent in the billy goat harvest, which was 163,240, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. In the 2018-2019 seasons, $ 147,750 was taken and in 2017-2018, $ 163,750.

The largest harvest of males at the time of the antler restriction – 165,416 – occurred in the first year, 2002-2003.

Hunters have also seen an increase in the percentage of 2.5-year-old males in the deer harvest.

During the 2019-2020 seasons, males aged 2.5 years and over accounted for 66% of the male harvest, compared to 64% in the 2018-2019 seasons.

In the previous four years, the percentage of males 2.5 years and older in the annual deer harvest ranged from 56 to 59 percent.

One of the highlights of the 2019-20 deer harvest was that deer hunters continued to experience levels of antler harvest success comparable to historic highs in the late 1990s and early 1980s. 2000, ”said Christopher Rosenberry, director of the deer and elk section, earlier this year.

“In recent years, about 17 to 18 percent of all hunters have harvested an antler, and we expect this trend to continue.”

Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans noted: “The size and quality of the dollars currently circulating in Penn’s Woods have probably not been replicated in the Commonwealth for over 150 years. The number of dollars taken from the record books is incredible. In fact, it seems that no shelf at the top of the record book lists is inaccessible. “

Beyond the Woods, Hunters in Pennsylvania also recorded the highest overall deer harvest in 15 years last year, when they caught 389,431 deer, which exceeded the 2018-19 harvest by approximately 4 percent.

The last time the total deer harvest exceeded that of 2019-2020 was in 2004-05, when 409,320 whitetails were collected.

This does not mean that deer are evenly distributed in all places in Pennsylvania.

According to the commission, drought and late spring frosts have impacted fall foods in parts of the state, while temperatures warmer than the season this fall have made grazing grass available in many places. Soft and hard mast crops were abundant in many areas, but irregular in others.

Deer usually inhabit close to food sources in good shelter. And, in the case of cornfields, they might never leave them until the corn falls.

In this context, the commission suggests that hunters confirm deer activity in the areas they plan to hunt before committing to them.

“Scouting is important for every hunt,” Burhans explained. “Deer like to spend time where food is easiest to obtain.”

The activity of hunters during the hunting season will also influence where deer will be found and how and where they move.

“Expect the unexpected on the start of deer gun season,” Burhans warned. “It’s undoubtedly that day when you never know if or when this money will arrive.”

The season which opens on Saturday will continue until Saturday December 12 and will include a deer hunting Sunday.

For the first time since the commission was created in 1895, Pennsylvanians will be allowed to hunt deer on a Sunday. This new opportunity presents itself on Sunday, November 29, creating something else that no modern hunter has ever seen in Pennsylvania: a full opening weekend.

In wildlife management units 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 4A, 4B, 4D, 5A, 5C and 5D, simultaneous deer hunting with and without antlers is authorized throughout the season for deer with arms fire.

In all other WMUs – 1A, 1B, 2A, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4E and 5B – a seven day antler season will be followed by a simultaneous seven day season. days.

If you harvest a deer in any of the 2020-21s and want to share a photo of yourself with your trophy with PennLive readers, send the photo, along with name, hometown, date, time and the county where you shot the deer. to Marcus Schneck at mschneck@pennlive.com.


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