Pennsylvania Deer Population:  An estimated 1.4 million deer in 2015, up from about 1.3 million in 2014.  A stable to increasing population in 2016.   In 2013, 1.5 million deer and 1.2 million in 2010.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Pennsylvania deer hunting data and news archive
Pennsylvania Deer News

Deer tests positive for chronic wasting disease in Franklin County January 13, 2017 Pennsylvania, Chambersburg Public Opinion
... a captive deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania. This is the first new case in a captive deer farm since 2014... four-year-old white-tailed deer was harvested from a hunting preserve in Franklin County in November 2016 ...

Deer disease options sought January 14, 2017 Pennsylvania, Altoona Mirror
... Wayne Laroche, who heads the state Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Management ... aimed to dispel rumors about a mass culling of the deer population — a tactic he said has failed elsewhere ... “If we can’t do it with sharpshooters and at night with silencers, then we can’t expect the hunters are going to do a better job than that,” ...

Fisher Resurgence: Once extinct in Pennsylvania forests, a big active predator is on the rebound January 8, 2017 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... we’ve seen the most diverse diet, including each other, of all forest predators; there’s nothing they won’t eat,” said Matt Lovallo, wildlife biologist in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Game Mammals Section. “With some food items like deer, whether it’s predation or scavenging ...

Ticks killing moose in other states, but what about deer in PA? January 8, 2017 Pennsylvania, Times-Leader
... While the winter tick is present in Pennsylvania, Brown said deer  are much better at grooming themselves than moose... “Every animal that comes into my shop has ticks,” Kotula said. “We used to not see them on bears, but not anymore. We just don’t get the cold winters anymore, and that’s what killed the ticks.”

Mt. Lebanon, Woman still fighting to learn details about Mt. Lebanon deer cull January 6, 2017 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
... Elaine Gillen appealed her open records case to the state Supreme Court ... “There are a lot of people who walk their dogs and people whose children walk to school,” ... we have a right to know where it's happening ...

  Rare albino deer seen roaming county’s woods January 5, 2017 Pennsylvania, Sun Gazette
... first saw the albino deer as a fawn in the spring standing in his backyard — its vibrant white coat sharply contrasting with those of the others ...

Use natural biodiversity to fight Lyme disease January 3, 2017 Pennsylvania, Scranton Times-Tribune
... years of studies couldn’t reliably correlate deer numbers and Lyme disease. Indeed, only a tiny fraction of the ticks on deer became infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme... [Ostfeld and his colleagues at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies] ... forests fragmented and otherwise disrupted by humans clearly favor those mammals that are better Lyme transmitters...

Deer numbers seemed a little off this year December 30, 2016 Pennsylvania, Observer-Reporter
... Even some from the commission, when questioned in private, admit that it is the traditional firearms deer season that pays most of the bills.  Much of the commission’s income comes from the traditional buck season. Yet some insiders would say most of the bucks, including most of the large-antlered trophies, are taken during archery season...

  Elk rescued from ice at Sinnemahoning State Park December 29, 2016 Pennsylvania, Olean Times-Herald
... He was definitely afraid of the ice and had had a bad experience ... able to tranquilize the animal, and then the assembled personnel lifted the blindfolded elk onto a stretcher, and he was driven over the spillway of the dam...

Reindeer once roamed Pennsylvania wild and free December 21, 2016 PennLive.com
... the fossil record shows that reindeer roamed a pre-Pennsylvania landscape that was very much like southern Alaska today - tundra and open plains, with much less forest and more areas of shrubs and wetlands...

CWD scare proves to be false alarm for deer seen in Williamstown area December 11, 2016 Pennsylvania, Republican Herald
... the deer suffered from a severe fungal infection in the esophagus. This damage was severe enough that it allowed the fungal infection to move into the deer’s chest, leading to pneumonia in one of the lungs...

The difference in name is costly December 10, 2016 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
... Pennsylvania Game Commission can't increase license fees on its own. Only state lawmakers can do that and they haven't since 1999 ... they can create permits... game lands permit would be required of anyone — from hunters and trappers to hikers, birdwatchers and mountain bikers ...

Mt. Lebanon,  Deer cull participants can remain private, court rules December 9, 2016 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... The state Commonwealth Court ruled Friday that the names of those who participated in a deer cull in Mt. Lebanon — either by bow hunting or by providing their property to hunters — can stay protected...

Deer tagging bill not expected in legislative session December 8, 2016 Pennsylvania, Jackson Clarion Ledger
... A state representative has said he does not intend to reintroduce a bill calling for mandatory tagging and reporting of deer ...

Changing the manner in which we hunt whitetails December 4, 2016 Pennsylvania, The Courier-Express
... researchers from Penn State ... he study reveals that bucks and does reduce their home range to about 100 acres during daytime hours of rifle season. That compares to a 3 square mile range during the rut...

Deer hunting ingrained in Pennsylvania December 4, 2016 Sunbury Daily Item
... During the Depression, the illegal practice of “jacklighting” or hunting deer at night-time using a spotlight had become a problem. In 1935, this practice was made illegal. By 1938, deer populations were once again depleted and deer hunting was closed...

Edgmont, A bad day to be a deer at Ridley Creek State Park December 1, 2016 Pennsylvania, Daily Local News
...  the annual hunt of white-tailed deer shut down Ridley Creek State Park to anyone except for hunters armed with shotguns ...    “We love the hunt, we love the sport of it, but the meat is the main thing,” ... “We still want deer in the park, we’re just trying to manage it,” ...

Hunting for a way to curb illegal deer kills in Lancaster County December 1, 2016 Pennsylvania, Lancaster Online
... hunters reported 21 total mistaken deer kills — an “unprecedented” number ... In 2002, the Pennsylvania Game Commission changed its antler restrictions to minimize the number of young bucks being harvested. Bucks now have to have at least three points on one side of its twin set of antlers... pay a $25 “restitution fee.” ...

Firearm Deer Hunting Season Begins In Pennsylvania November 29, 2016 CBS PittsburghHunting 
... Last Week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that expands the list of firearms permitted for hunting in Pennsylvania to include semi-automatic rifles and handguns.  The new law takes effect next year ...

Thousands gear up for deer season November 28, 2016 Pennsylvania, Standard Speaker
... Hunters  ... average age rose to 42 in 2001 compared with 35 two decades earlier.  The number of license-buyers last year was down about 350,000 from the peak 35 years ago... Archery licenses sales climbed to 340,474 last year from 269,752 a decade earlier...

... Deer populations are being tracked as stable or increasing in each of the state’s 23 wildlife management units, said Christopher Rosenberry, who supervises the Game Commission’s Deer and Elk Section...  the agency estimates hunter turnout to be around 550,000...  the agency’s estimate of 750,000 deer hunters was high over the last few years ...

Outdoor enthusiasts divided over Sunday hunting debate November 26, 2016 Pennsylvania, Citizen's Voice
... Providing an additional day for hunting would provide a means to recruit new hunters ... “I would argue it’s the one day out of the week that people who don’t hunt can enjoy the woods, enjoy nature, without being afraid of being shot or hearing gunfire,” ...

Check out this Pennsylvania white deer November 21, 2016 
Lancaster Online
... a white doe that he has been seeing regularly ... in Columbia County for the past six years...

Antler restrictions pay off November 20, 2016 Pennsylvania, Citizen's Voice
... Before 2002 when the antler restrictions began, only 20 percent of yearling bucks lived through their first hunting season.  Afterward, 64 percent of yearlings survived, and the percentage of adult bucks in the harvest rose to 36 from 20... By 2014, a survey found the percentage of hunters who favored antler restrictions where they hunt inched up to 62 percent ...

... For each of the last 10 years the No. 1 violation encountered by WCOs has been the unlawful taking of wildlife. Five years ago, when Operation Talon began, it resulted in 305 prosecutions. Last year, the figure tripled to 1,060... The PGC’s Facebook page has also been a benefit, allowing the agency to publicize ongoing cases ...

Tracking CWD, what hunters need to know November 17, 2016 Pennsyilvania, WTAJ
... Since 2012 cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been detected in three locations in Pennsylvania. Free-ranging deer in Blair and Bedford counties have tested positive ...

Changes Coming to Annual Presque Isle Deer Hunt November 10, 2016 Pennsylvania, erienewsnow.com
... hunt was started back in 1989 ...  estimated that there are between 30 to 60 antler and antler-less deer spread throughout the peninsula... 85 hunters are allowed to participate each day ...

Elk Harvest Results Released November 8, 2016 Pennsylvania, PGC News
     More than 78 percent of the hunters participating in Pennsylvania’s 2016 elk hunt have taken home a trophy.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced 97 elk were taken by hunters during the regular one-week elk season that ended Nov. 5. And for those licensed to hunt antlered elk, also known as bulls, the success rate was 96 percent...

Data: About 1.4 million deer in 2015, up from about 1.3 million in 2014 (estimated using harvest data). A 13 percent increase in antlerless tags for 2016 is designed to reduce the deer herd in two management units and maintain the herd in the other 20 units.  The 2016 deer population is stable to increasing in regions of the state. About 550,000 deer hunters.
      The hard winter in 2013-14 reduced populations that had generally been stable to increasing into 2013, about 1.5 million deer.   In 2014 and 2015, the Game Commission reduced doe deer licenses 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. The deer harvest rose about 4 percent in 2015 to 315,813, 43.4% were antlered deer. Of the bucks taken, 59 percent were 2.5 years old or older, a big increase from past years that the department attributes to antler restrictions.  Peak of the rut is about November 14.
     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. Yearling buck survival has increased from 15 to 52 percent, harvest of adult bucks has increased from 20 to 50 percent. 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.  About 750,000 deer hunters were estimated, 16 per square mile of hunting land, but this number was later determined to be too high.  
     Hunting license sales peaked in 1982 at 1.3 million, 952,989 sold in 2013.  Hunting success about 33 percent in 2013.  About 80 percent of hunting is on public land, 1.5 million acres of game land.  In 2000 the PGC increased hunting in order to reduce the herd. Although the strategy changed to stabilizing the population in 2005, the herd continued to decline, especially in the north.
    Chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania was first discovered in the wild herd in 2013 in Bedford and Blair counties. First detected in 2012 at a captive deer facility in Adams county.  Pennsylvania has about 1,127 deer farms.  No deer tested positive during the 2014-15 hunting season. 
     History:  The first deer season was established in 1869.  In 1897, the use of bait and dogs to hunt deer were both outlawed.  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 1923 to boost the population and for many of the years until 1957.  The first hunting licenses were established in 1913.  In 1923, aminimum 2 points to an antler or 6-inch spike was required for a buck.  During the depression the practice of hunting deer at night "jacklighting" became popular, made illegal in 1935.  The buck season was closed in 1938. 
       In 1986, there were 1,000,000 deer hunters in Pennsylvania.  In 2013 are around 740,000 deer hunters.  Since antler restrictions were enacted in Pennsylvania in 2002, yearling buck survival has increased from 15 to 52 percent, while harvest of adult bucks has increased from 20 to 50 percent.
     The Elk population was about 900 in the beginning of 2015, growing from about 65 in 1971 to 800 in 2011.  Over hunting and habitat loss resulted in the extermination of the species once native to Pennsylvania.  The last far eastern elk was killed in the state in 1869.  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.  
     An estimated 18,000 Bears in 2013.

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.
Report a dead deer for removal from state roads, call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

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