Pennsylvania Deer:  An estimated population of 1.4 million deer in 2015, up from about 1.3 million in 2014.  A stable to increasing population in 2016.   The number of antlerless deer licenses are increased for 2017 by 7.5 percent.   In 2013, about 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-baiting Permits to Continue in Southeastern Counties June 26, 2017 Pennsylvania, DNR News
... The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today ensured deer hunters in the Southeast Special Regulations Area will continue to have the option to apply for permits to use mechanical feeders to dispense bait at hunting locations on private property.  The board first voted to create deer-attractant permits in 2014, but attached to the measure a sunset clause that would force the board to revisit the issue in 2017...

Expansion of DMA2 presents change of plans for deer hunters June 23, 2017 Pennsylvania, Carlisle Sentinel
... Disease Management Area 2 has been extended from Somerset County all the way eastward to the mid-point of Adams County as the Pennsylvania Game Commission adjusts strategy to contain Chronic Wasting Disease ... 

An unusual rescue on the Delaware River. Philadelphia police officers had to save that deer after it got stuck in the river near Penn's Landing. - June 22, 2017


Game Commission grapples with expanding CWD deer infections June 21, 2017 Pennsylvania, American Agriculturist
... Twenty-five free-ranging deer tested positive for CWD in 2016. From 2012 to 2015, a total of 22 free-ranging CWD-positive deer were detected. Since this time last year, the disease also has been detected on three additional captive deer facilities ... The Franklin County cases were 25 miles east of the previous DMA boundary..,

York County deer cleared of chronic wasting disease June 20, 2017 Pennsylvania, York Dispatch
... The disease was detected locally in two deer on a deer farm in Adams County in 2012. One of the deer also once lived at a farm in Washington Township, York County...  the state required testing on deer harvested in a disease management area that included most of northern York County...

... DMAP allows landowners to apply for permits to encourage antlerless harvests on their property ... offering hunters 20,736 permits in 79 units totaling 968,054 acres ... 

Upper Dublin, Deer survey report presented during Upper Dublin meeting June 12, 2017 Pennsylvania, Montgomery News
...The final decision was to have the police come up with options for expanding bow-hunting while balancing the need for residents to use the parks and keeping sharpshooting as an option... The committee asked that the options be ready for consideration by the full board in July in order to have something in place by the fall...

Franklin County deer targeted for CWD June 15, 2017 Pennsylvania, Chambersburg Public Opinion
... Deer hunters in most of Franklin County and large parts of Adams and Cumberland counties will be subject to increased regulation as the Pennsylvania Game Commission attempts to manage chronic wasting disease...

More chronic wasting disease found in deer in Pennsylvania June 1, 2017 Pennsylvania,
lehighvalleylive.com
... The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday the third case of chronic wasting disease in a captive deer in five months' time... a 5-year-old white-tailed deer that died in April on a farm in Fulton County ...
     Third captive deer in 4 months tests positive for chronic wasting disease June 1, 2017 Pennsylvania, Chambersburg Public Opinion
... Thirteen captive deer have tested positive since 2012. The most recent cases include a deer in January 2017 from a breeding operation in Bedford County and another raised on a Fulton County farm and harvested in November 2016 from a hunting preserve in Franklin County...

Tough decisions lie ahead for PAGC regarding deer May 19, 2017 Pennsylvania, Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald
... With Chronic Wasting Disease creeping eastward in southern Pennsylvania, deer hunters in WMU5A will also be adhering to restrictions... Concern for the herd is heightened by the additional fact that three more animals on deer farms tested positive for CWD in late 2016 and early 2017 in Bedford, Fulton and Franklin counties...

     The Pennsylvania Game Commission tested 5,707 deer and 110 elk for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during 2016.  Twenty-five wild deer tested positive for CWD. All of the wild CWD-positive deer were in or near Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2), the only area of the state where CWD has been detected in the wild. These 25 deer more than doubled the number of CWD-positive deer detected in DMA 2 from 2012 to 2015 ...

PGC's new leader has big plans for agency May 14, 2017 Pennsylvania, Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
...  Deer remains at the forefront of all wildlife issues facing the agency ... The goal is to bring deer in line with the habitat... some hunters saying they’re not seeing enough deer ... chronic wasting disease in the state? Burhans: It’s very serious...

...  based on how valuable oaks are for wildlife on game lands, the agency simply can’t afford not to invest in spraying this year... Deer reproduction and their survival over winter suffer when acorns are sparse. Neotropical birds, such as cerulean warblers, occupy habitats dominated by oaks. Wild turkey and ruffed grouse populations also depend on acorns.” ...

Four deer die off Route 219 bridge near Meyersdale April 22, 2017 Pennsylvania, Daily American Online
... a bridge being built for the new section of Route 219  ...  "Anytime something changes their course of pattern," he said incidents like this can happen...

Upper Dublin, Deer count underway in Upper Dublin April 12, 2017 Pennsylvania, Montgomery Newspapers
... bow-hunting program was started in 2009 ... has not reached its recommended sustainable population of 11 per square mile [see density recommendations] ... The decision to re-evaluate ... at the urging of residents who have continually questioned the safety and effectiveness of the plan...

Philadelphia,  Winter cull removed 281 deer from Philly parks April 11, 2017 Pennsylvania, Philly.com
... Since December, a total of 281 deer were removed from the parks ...

State initiative planned to curb CWD April 8, 2017 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... Each year since 2012, samples from more than 5,500 hunter-harvested, road-killed or apparently sick deer have been tested for CWD. Last year, 25 new cases were found, bringing the total number of wild, free-ranging CWD-positive deer in Pennsylvania to 47...

CWD Surveilllance Detects Diseased Deer April 6, 2017 Pennsylvania, PGC News
... Several neighboring landowners in Fulton County gave permission for USDA-WS biologists, with extensive expertise in targeted deer removal, to take 30 wild deer for CWD testing... CWD was detected in one deer, and results from follow-up tests on this deer came back Wednesday, confirming the deer was CWD positive... the positive test from this sample size increases concern that more CWD-positive deer might be present in the immediate area where the deer was taken. Based on this evidence, the Game Commission will increase CWD sampling ...

New York, Pennsylvania on target with deer kill estimates April 5, 2017 Press & Sun-Bulletin (blog)
... New York biologists personally counted and examined 13,936 deer at check points, at meat lockers, hanging in yards, etc. The data gained from those examinations was fed into a formula that produced the “calculated” kill figures ... Pennsylvania uses a similar system. Both have been analyzed by independent auditors and were found to be extremely accurate ...

Antler regulation bodes well for Pennsylvania hunters March 28, 2017 Pennsylvania, Press & Sun-Bulletin (blog)
... The percentage of older bucks taken remained high, with 56 percent of those killed being 2.5 years old or older. ...Pennsylvania hunters can thank the state’s antler restrictions, which protects yearling bucks from slaughter, allowing them to grow. New York does not yet protect yearlings and more than 70 percent of the yearling bucks ...

... Board members voted to increase the allocation over last year’s figures in 14 of the 23 WMUs, for a total statewide antlerless license allocation of 804,000. The figure is significantly less than the 873,000 recommended by agency staff..,

Game Commission: No semi-automatics for big game March 28, 2017 Pennsylvania, Chambersburg Public Opinion
... Commissioners said a clear majority of Pennsylvania hunters voiced opposition to hunting big game with semi-automatic rifles at this time and voted accordingly...

... The commissioners also set the number of antlerless deer licenses to be allocated, as well as the number of elk licenses to be allocated for the coming license year.
The board voted to allocate 804,000 antlerless deer licenses statewide, which up from 748,000 licenses in 2016... The board also voted to issue 118 elk licenses (25 antlered, 93 antlerless) for the 2017 hunt..,

What's to blame for the surge in Lyme disease? March 28, 2017 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... Don’t blame deer. They now may be off the hook as the main vectors of the infectious disease.  Instead, most scientists and publications point to the expected overpopulation of white-footed mice this year as the reason Lyme disease incidence ...

Trail cams used to monitor predators of deer fawns March 24, 2017 Pennsylvania, Penn State News
... only half of them survive until their first birthday, and much of that mortality results from predation... 88 trail cams in operation ... whether there is a relationship between where predators are found and where fawns survive ...

... the proposal to allow semis for big game drew fire from sportsmen concerned about safety and reckless shooting... turning back the clock to the days of a bucks-only period ...

Game Commission Releases Deer Harvest Report March 13, 2017 Pennsylvania, PGC News
... Pennsylvania’s buck harvest increased 9 percent, and the overall deer harvest was up 6 percent, in the 2016-17 seasons, which closed in January, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported today.  Hunters harvested an estimated 333,254 deer in 2016-17 – an increase of about 6 percent compared to the 2015-16 harvest of 315,813...

Is Pennsylvania on verge of chronic wasting disaster? March 11, 2017 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
... Forty-seven wild CWD-positive deer were found in the state since 2012. Twenty-five turned up in 2016. ... In states like West Virginia and Wisconsin, CWD kind of percolated for a while, then exploded ... 

Game commissioners prepare to pull the trigger on semiautomatic rifle regulation March 12, 2017 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... While safety was initially a concern everywhere that semiautomatics are legal for hunting, no comprehensive data from state wildlife agencies could be found showing that the use of semiautomatic sporting arms increased the number or severity of hunting-related shooting incidents ...
     Using semiautos may result in fewer wounded deer March 12, 2017 Pennsylvania, Scranton Times-Tribune
... “We saw video of hunters using semiautomatics who were actually able to take more time to identify their target than those using bolt-action rifles,” ...

Deer sharpshooting operation ends in Mt. Lebanon March 9, 2017 Pennsylvania, The Almanac
... the removal of 55 deer ... spending $44,868  ... [$816 per deer] ...  “The game commission’s first method of deer management is hunting, until there is a philosophical shift that won’t change.” ...

... a two-pronged plan to reduce Ann Arbor’s urban deer population. In areas where sharpshooting was impractical, female deer were darted and their ovaries surgically removed ... “The biggest difference is that in Pennsylvania the Game Commission denied us a permit and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources approved the experiment,”  ...

Deer tests positive for CWD in Bedford County  February 28, 2017 Pennsylvania, The Sentinel Cumberlink
... The positive test is the second case of CWD discovered in a captive deer farm since 2014.  The 3-year-old white-tailed deer died on a farm in Bedford County in January ... born and raised on the same property, which is under quarantine. ...

... “Pennsylvania now finds itself in a conservation conundrum: the state’s resource agencies are in trouble financially,” explained Hough. “Although this plan outlines how best to help our species of greatest conservation need and prevent species from becoming endangered, resource agencies will need teamwork from the public and legislative assistance to ensure we can stay as proactive as we must.”...

Views sought on hunting changes February 26, 2017 Ohio, Marietta Times
Ohio Division of Natural Resources released its 2017-2018 hunting season proposal ... One of the new proposals is increasing the bag limit from two deer to three. This proposed change is designed to slow the rate of growth but still allow the herds to increase...

State wildlife chief warns of catastrophic animal diseases February 18, 2017 Pennsylvania, Standard Speaker
... the executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission said in his annual report to the Legislature... he expects chronic wasting disease, which is always fatal to deer and elk, to spread exponentially in Pennsylvania as it has in states such as Wisconsin and West Virginia...

Mt. Lebanon, Deer, student parking once again stir ire in Mt. Lebanon February 17, 2017 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... Although 104 deer were killed during the same time last year, municipal manager Keith McGill said only 36 deer were killed in this season’s archery hunt by wildlife management company White Buffalo, which was paid $9,000 to organize the hunt. A sharpshooting phase of the deer management program is slated to begin within days...

... “Any 2-year-old [buck] will have a 15-inch inside spread. We know that ... We could save almost 99 percent of the 1½-year-old deer by setting a 15-inch minimum inside spread.  But Gary [Alt, father of Pennsylvania’s deer management plan]  was right in promoting the APRs — three or four points on one side — instead, because there was no way he was going to get the 15-inch rule passed.” ...
     Response:  Point / counterpoint on deer management February 19, 2017 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 ... The goal was to protect most yearling bucks while making most adult bucks eligible for harvest. A 15-inch inside spread rule in this state, said Rosenberry, would have made “nearly all yearling bucks and most 2 1/2-year-old bucks illegal for harvest.” ... Counting antler points is easier to apply in the field than estimating inside spread ...

“In the case of antler point restrictions, I would argue we made the credible choice,”
Here's what major changes to deer hunting regulations might be … February 8, 2017 Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania
... If the commissioners give final approval to the plan, only ... the southeastern corner of the state will retain the concurrent buck-and-doe rifle hunting season...

Preliminary approval given to semi-automatic hunting rifles February 6, 2017 Pennsylvania, Altoona Mirror
... a proposal to permit the use of semi-automatic rifles for hunting big game, small game and furbearers ... According to Game Commission sources, “Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that currently has no hunting seasons during which semi-automatic rifles can be used.” ...

Franklin, Fulton deer tests CWD positive February 2, 2017 Pennsylvania, Outdoor News
... Agriculture officials, in a press release, made a point of saying that the CWD-positive deer does not pose a health risk. It noted that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there is no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contact chronic wasting disease.” ...

Mt. Lebanon deer reduction enters firearm phase February 2, 2017 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... White Buffalo’s professional sharpshooters were not yet in town. Following two weeks of site baiting, the shooters will work from stationary elevated positions ... “There’s been very little public comment, even at the public meetings,” ...

Hoping deadly deer disease doesn't come here January 29, 2017 Pennsylvania, Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
...  CWD has been found in 11 captive deer - those on deer farms, since 2012. There are 23,000 captive deer on 1,100 breeding farms in the state ...  the latest case ...  the deer was raised on a farm in Fulton County ... for several years, and sold to the Franklin County facility in August 2016. Both farms are now under quarantine ..,

Biological and social outcomes of antler point restriction harvest regulations for white‐tailed deer  BD Wallingford, DR Diefenbach, ES Long… - Wildlife Monographs, 2017
... n 2002, Pennsylvania adopted new APRs for white-tailed deer ... We considered APRs biologically successful because of decreased subadult harvest rates and increased harvest of adult males with larger antlers. Likewise, because the majority of hunters supported APRs throughout the study, we considered APRs socially successful. However, we predicted APRs would become increasingly popular after hunters experienced biological results of APRs, but there was little change in support...

More deer being cleared from Valley roads January 24, 2017 Pennsylvania, Sunbury Daily Item
... According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, contractor Kevin D. Buch cleaned up 987 carcasses from state and federal roads in Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Montour and Columbia counties in 2014. In 2015, he picked up 1,013, and last year, he hauled away 1,187...

Pennsylvania's deer are a hearty bunch January 21, 2017 Pennsylvania, Reading Eagle
... Detecting changes in barometric pressure, deer make adjustments when storms are imminent. One particular collared buck was observed by a Penn State research team ... With the storm approaching, the buck moved one mile west of its home range to a southwest-facing slope covered in hemlocks. For three days, snow fell and the buck never moved more than 250 yards...

1st Chronic Wasting Disease case in captive deer since 2014 January 19, 2017 Pennsylvania, Outbreak News Today
... The four-year-old white-tailed deer was harvested from a hunting preserve in Franklin County in November 2016...

Pa. Game Commission set to vote on allowing semi-automatic rifles for hunting January 18, 2017 Pennsylvania, Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
... The move comes two months after Gov. Tom Wolf signed into a law a bill that removes the prohibition against the use of semi-automatic rifles for hunting...

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...

Deer Data: About 1.4 million deer in 2015, up from about 1.3 million in 2014 (estimated using harvest data).  A 7.5 percent increase in antlerless deer tags in 2017, 14 of 23 units were increased, significantly less that recommended by staff.   A 13 percent increase in antlerless tags for 2016 which 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.  In 2017 a reported 23,000 captive deer on 1,100 breeding farms.
     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.  Pennsylvania has about 1,127 deer farms. 
    Chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania was first detected in 2012 at a captive deer facility in Adams county.  First discovered in the wild herd in 2013 in Bedford and Blair counties.  From 2012 to 2015, a total of 22 free-ranging deer tested CWD-positive deer.  In 2016, 25 free ranging deer tested positive.
     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.


Other useful links: