Deer hunters in Pennsylvania had a memorable season last year.

“Hunters harvested more adult bucks [2 ½-years old and older] in 2012-13 than they have in the 30 years,” said Christopher Roseberry, supervisor of the deer and elk section for the Pa. Game Commission (PGC).

In total, 343,110 deer were bagged and tagged, an increase of about 7,000 from 2011. Since 2005, deer populations and deer harvests in most Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) have remained stable. This is good news.

“This year, we would expect hunters to have a similar hunt to what they have seen in recent years,” added Rosenberry.

Regulation Changes
Pennsylvania has found deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) this year. In response, the state now has two disease management areas (DMAs): DMA 1 is essentially Adams and York Counties, while DMA 2 encompasses Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Huntington Counties. Hunters in those areas must present their harvested deer at a PGC check station to have it tested for CWD. Hunters are prohibited from baiting or using a urine-based lure in the DMAs. All hunters statewide are still required to report their kill within 10 days of the harvest by going online or by calling (855) 724-8681.

Public Land
North-central Pennsylvania, particularly WMU 2G, contains huge tracts of public land. While harvest rates are low, bucks are known to grow old in this area. Make sure you’re physically fit and willing to work hard, because the terrain is challenging and access is limited.