Pennsylvania Deer News

Radnor BOC deems winter deer cull a success July 18, 2014 Pennsylvania, Main Line Media News
... The USDA culled 300 deer over 16 nights in Radnor Township, from November 25, 2013 to April 10, 2014. Another 57 deer were removed by the Chester Valley Deer Management Association bow hunters... For 2015 it will cost Radnor $51,142 for the USDA to cull deer for 10 nights. Fifteen nights would cost $72,757...

Pennsylvania to get 'elk's eye view' of habitat July 17, 2014 Press & Sun-Bulletin 
... The Pennsylvania Game Commission has fitted one of the state's resident elk with a video camera collar in hopes of determining a few things about the day-to-day life of a large cervid in the east....

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance funded a new collar for a pilot program. The new collar records video and audio and will be collected in 75 days to discover what will hopefully be new and exciting information about Pennsylvania elk.


Pennsylvania ban on Sunday hunting upheld July 14, 2014 Great Lakes Echo
... Pennsylvania’s ban on most Sunday hunting doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge has ruled in a suit against the state Game Commission.  There is no constitutional right to hunt, U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane said ... 

... Dr. Jacqueline Frair, an associate professor with the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York ... said ...  “The does all drop their fawns in a short window so it kind of overwhelms the predator - coyotes. It’s an effective strategy [predator swamping] because there’s too many fawns that the coyotes can’t kill them all,” ... Predator swamping is only effective where deer numbers are high enough to produce a significant number of fawns, Frair added. In areas where there’s few deer, it won’t work ...

Doe Licenses in Pennsylvania July 9, 2014 Pennsylvania, PGC News 
... Compared to the previous license year, 59,500 fewer antlerless licenses have been allocated statewide this year, and most wildlife-management units (WMUs) have fewer licenses available... A listing of antlerless licenses allocated by WMU, as well as the remaining allocation, can be viewed on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), by clicking on “Doe License Update” in the “Quick Clicks” box in the right-hand column of the homepage...

Camera To Provide Elk's Point of View July 3, 2014 Pennsylvania, PGC News
     What does an elk eat?  With footage captured by a tiny video camera placed on a Pennsylvania elk this week, researchers soon will find out.  The research initiative is a product of a partnership between the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization headquartered at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, Pa.... on Tuesday, researchers placed a collar on an adult cow elk that not only will record her locations through GPS technology, but also will record video shot by a camera housed within the collar. 

A never-ending benefit, cutting red maples June 28, 2014 Pennsylvania, Go lackawanna 
...  Quality Deer Management Association and ... cut all the red maple trees over a several acre area on State Game Lands 57 in Wyoming County.  The purpose of the work was to provide browse and cover for deer and other wildlife.  Six months later, the benefits are evident... “By daylighting this area and eliminating the competition from red maple, these other species like spruce and cherry will really thrive here,”...

Are Pennsylvania Coyotes a $4 Million Problem? June 27, 2014 Pennsylvania, Outdoor Life 
... The Board of Game Commissioners is all worked up about coyote predation -- and for good reason. Coyotes and other predators seem to impact deer numbers across the country, and are continuing to grow as a topic … the rub is the $3.9 million research proposal submitted by staffers. Everyone seems to be choking on the price ... 

... In an historical reenactment of what took place in Pennsylvania in 2006, Missouri lawmakers passed legislation this year that would classify captive deer as livestock with the Agriculture Department responsible for the industry...The Missouri Conservation Commission this month endorsed regulations that include a ban on importing deer from other states and requiring double-fencing for new permit-holders...

... A Pennsylvania bill that would legalize AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles for hunting is being criticized by hunters themselves ... “Marksmanship is the essence of an ethical deer hunt. Spraying 11 shots at a deer (or group of deer) has little to do with marksmanship or ethics,” ...

Commission predator study moving along June 23, 2014 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
... Commissioners have been calling for a study for more than a year. Commission biologists are less enthusiastic, saying their indexes suggest that predation, while certainly occurring, is not hurting deer at a population level.  Still, they recently presented commissioners with a study proposal. It called for doing research over five years in three 150-square-mile study areas and involved lowering black bear and coyote populations significantly... 

Fertility control' can help manage wildlife June 19, 2014 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Daily News
... Fertility vaccine also works in deer. Research by Tufts University scientists and others performed in three locations - Fire Island National Seashore in New York, the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland, and Fripp Island in North Carolina - led to reductions in urban deer populations by 30 to 60 percent. The findings were published in Wildlife Research and the Journal of Zoo Wildlife Medicine by Allen Rutberg and colleagues...

U.S. judge kills lawsuit challenging Pa.'s Sunday hunting ban June 19, 2014 Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania 
... Saying its arguments miss the mark, a federal judge on Wednesday shot down a lawsuit a sportsmen's group filed challenging the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's ban on most Sunday hunting....

... According to Macan, for the 2013-14 season, bow hunters bagged 144 deer, 71 in Lower Makefield and 73 in Upper Makefield...

House passes bill affirming right of poaching suspects to remain silent June 13, 2014 Pennsylvania, Chambersburg Public Opinion
... An alleged poaching incident has been the inspiration for an attempt to repeal the part of Pennsylvania's Game and Wildlife Code requiring a suspect to answer a wildlife conservation officer... A person refusing to talk to a Game Commission employee about a slain or wounded big game animal is subject to a fine of $150 to $300...

Pine, Reducing deer herd aim in Pine June 12, 2014 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Pine property owners now can request that hired sharpshooters reduce local deer herds... “When township involvement is requested, the township can seek permission from private property owners, but will not authorize activity on private property, without the owner's consent,” according to the new policy...

Saw Creek resident says deer kill ballot is slanted June 12, 2014 Pennsylvania, Pocono Record 
... The board has been vocally opposed to a controversial amendment to community bylaws that would require a vote of the membership before any deer management efforts are implemented ... Anyone about to vote "yes" for the amendment gets a pop-up message as the computer's curser hovers over the "yes" box.  "The board of directors urges you to vote 'no' on this amendment," the pop-up says in underlined red letters...

Philadelphia Daily News 
... Jeff Houdret once enjoyed watching white-tailed deer roam Valley Forge National Historical Park... Over eight nights between November 2013 and March 2014, Department of Agriculture sharpshooters killed 116 deer... Valley Forge was home to about 1,277 deer... 

Upper Makefield OKs 2014 deer hunt June 5, 2014 Pennsylvania, Bucks County Courier Times
...  The township supervisors have again decided to hire the Big Oak Whitetail Management Association to control the township's deer population through a bow hunt...  Last year, BOWMA hunters killed 71 deer in Upper Makefield...

New Hunting Permit Part of CWD Response June 5, 2014 Pennsylvania, PGC News 
    The Pennsylvania Game Commission is enlisting assistance from hunters in an effort to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.  The Game Commission has developed a permit that can be used to hunt antlerless deer, but can be used only within the boundaries of what is known as Disease Management Area 2 – the lone area of the state where chronic wasting disease has been detected in free-ranging deer.
     A total of 13,000 permits will be made available with the intention of reducing the deer population by one deer per square mile in DMA 2. Responding to a need identified by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, the permits seek to focus hunting pressure inside the Disease Management Area (DMA), where deer numbers must be kept in check to slow the potential spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). 

... The white-tailed deer ... the state animal of Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, and South Carolina, the wildlife symbol of Wisconsin, and the official game animal of Oklahoma...

CWD brings new rules here May 31, 2014 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
... chronic wasting disease (CWD) — an always-fatal malady that affects deer, elk and other cervids, for which there is no treatment and no cure — was something confined to the American West. Discovered in Colorado in 1967, it stayed there, within a research facility, before finally making the jump to wild elk in 1981...

Mt. Lebanon deer survey results inconsistent May 29, 2014 Pennsylvania, The Almanac
... In 2013, an aerial survey counted 342 deer. A year later, a similar survey counted only 196 deer... Deer could have moved beyond the boundaries of Mt. Lebanon ... Benner said many townships use multiple data points to monitor deer populations. These can include police reports, reports to local administrators and data from insurance companies ... “You don’t have a bunch of scientists out there recording data in the same, repeatable way, so there’s a lot of error,” ...

Mt. Lebanon, Decrease in deer in Mt. Lebanon perplexing May 28, 2014 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
... Counting deer from an airplane with an infrared camera, contractors saw 196 in February 2014 compared with 342 at about the same time last year... the commission hadn't approved any deer-culling activities between surveys ... The municipality's ban two years ago on feeding deer might have led them to range farther in search of food ...

... 41 people have been charged in a multimillion-dollar insurance fraud scam in Philadelphia... "When crafting bogus accident claims, Galati favored deer hits, vandalism and vehicular damages from trajectory objects because each could be catagorized as a nonfault accident from which the insured would not be held liable," ...

Game Commission Board to hold quarterly meeting June 9 and 10 at agency headquarters. May 28, 2014 Pennsylvania
...On Monday, June 9, the board is slated to convene at 8:30 a.m. to hear public recommendations followed by Game Commission staff reports. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. Individuals interested in offering public testimony may begin to register at 7:45 on a first-come, first-to-speak basis. Public comment is limited to five minutes and no PowerPoint presentations are permitted. On Tuesday, June 10, the Board will take up its prepared agenda. Doors open at 7:45 a.m.... Those unable to attend the meeting can watch much of it from home... An icon will be posted on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) on Monday and Tuesday to access the webcasts...

Third CWD Management Area Established May 22, 2014 Pennsylvania, PGC News
     The Pennsylvania Game Commission has established a third Disease Management Area in response to chronic wasting disease being detected recently in Jefferson County.  Disease Management Area 3 (DMA 3) encompasses about 350 square miles in Jefferson and Clearfield counties, and also includes a small sliver of Indiana County.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced early in April that chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected at a domestic deer facility in Jefferson County, and both that facility and another associated with the same CWD-positive deer were placed under quarantine.  The state Department of Agriculture oversees all domestic deer operations in Pennsylvania, while the Game Commission is responsible for managing and protecting free-ranging wildlife and their habitats...

... commission staff on Monday presented a proposal for a $3.9 million, five-year study to determine the impact of reducing predator populations on the survival of white-tailed deer fawns.... "What I'm hearing from our customers is 'Look, commissioners, you can do whatever you want, just give me more deer.'" ...

Montrose looks at deer management options May 7, 2014 Pennsylvania, Independentweekender
... Police Chief Dale Smith said the borough does have a law on the books that bans the firing of weapons inside the town. But he added that some municipalities allow for deer management during archery season.  “That’s dangerous,” O’Malley said. She also said that the borough could run into a problem with sentimentality rising from people who enjoy seeing the beautiful creatures in the borough...

Deer disease containment for Jefferson County May 4, 2014 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 
... Chronic Wasting Disease was not detected in any samples collected from white-tailed deer harvested during the 2013-2014 deer hunting seasons. ...Two road-killed deer in Bedford County tested positive for the disease last fall. Another infected individual was found at a captive deer farm in Jefferson County ...

Deer kill in Saw Creek stopped until at least July May 1, 2014 Pennsylvania, Pocono Record
... The plan to thin the deer herd in Saw Creek Estates Community Association with a sharpshooter is on hold while homeowners consider the issue with a community vote... Petitioners had enough signatures to get a proposed amendment ... require a vote of the membership before any deer management efforts are implemented, and that any change require a "super majority" of a two-thirds vote...

Center City deer dies during mad dash May 1, 2014 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Daily News 
... After leaping onto and off the PATCO tracks on the Ben Franklin Bridge, he jumped onto the roadway and got hit by a car. The driver thought he hit a box and didn't stop ...


Search by keyword above or find links to state news stories organized by topic. 

Data: The hard winter in 2013-14 reduced populations that had been stable to increasing in 2013.   In 2014, the Game Commission reduced antlerless deer permits in an effort to grow the herd.  In 2011 the deer population was estimated at between 1.3 and 1.5 million by the Pennsylvania Game Commission or about 1.37 million. The deer population was estimated at 1.2 million in 2010, 1.1 million in 2008,  1.4 million in 2002,  to 1.5 million in 2000.  Population estimates have been a matter of public controversy.  About 750,000 deer hunters.  The deer harvest rose 3 percent in 2013 to 352.900, 38% were antlered deer. Of the bucks taken, 47 percent were 1.5 years old.
     According to the Nature Tourism project, the deer population grew from 1.2 million deer in 2006 to 1.6 million in 2011. After antler restrictions on hunters were introduced in 2002, the observed ratio of button bucks to adult bucks dropped from 15-to-1 in the winter of 2002 to 2-to-1 in 2004. The observed ratio of adult doe to adult bucks fell from 14-to-1 to 2-to-1 over that period. 90 percent of all deer are conceived between mid-October and mid-December.  
    Chronic wasting disease was first discovered in the wild herd in 2013. First detected in 2012 at a captive deer facility in Adams county.
     In the early 1900's. the Pennsylvania deer population was so low that the Game Commission began stocking deer in 1906.  Does were protected from 1907 until 1928 to boost the population.  In 1923 minimum 2 points to an antler or 6-inch spike was required for a buck.  in 1938 the buck season is closed, only antlerless deer are legal. 
     The elk population was eliminated in the late 1800s, between 1913 and 1926 the Game Commission released 177 elk.  In 1998 a three year long trap and transfer program expanded the elk's range.  The elk herd has grown from roughly 65 in 1971 to about 800 in 2011.

Report Poaching:   Call the Game Commission at 814-643-1831.  Callers can remain anonymous and there may be a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Other useful links:
Deer Chronicles - Pennsylvania Game Commission bi-annual publication.
Information about Chronic Wasting Disease from PGC  
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Deer Management Plan: "Pennsylvania's Constitution and Game and Wildlife Code direct the Game Commission to protect, manage, and preserve wildlife and their habitat . . . for the benefit of all people, including generations yet to come." PA DCNR - Managing Deer and Forests, Mission Statement May 20, 2011 Pennsylvania Management
Pennsylvania Game Commission News

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Rep. Martin Causer asks some questions at a recent meeting of the House Game and Fisheries Committee.- February 21, 2013