PENNSYLVANIA

Deer Forecast 2004 -- EAST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

This year should be an exciting one in Penn's woods. For the past two years, Pennsylvania has protected approximately 50,000 additional bucks annually through antler restrictions. During this time, the number of yearlings in the buck harvest has gone from nearly 85 percent to less than 60 percent.

"I think we're going to see more older bucks and larger bucks taken than ever before," says Pennsylvania Game Commission deer management section chief Gary Alt.

With a deer population estimated at 1.6 million, hunting opportunities should be outstanding. There have been some incredible harvests recently-a record 517,529 in 2002, followed by 464,890 last year. This year, the state allotted 1,039,000 doe licenses, its most ever. In addition, crossbows are legal for archery season in WMUs 5C, 5D (the southeast) and 2B (Pittsburgh area). Also, the late-season antlerless hunt has been lengthened in 5D.

Look to the southwestern, southeastern and northwestern sections of the state to provide some of the best whitetail hunting.