The archery deer hunting season for antlered and antlerless deer kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 16, in Wildlife Management Units 2B and local 5C and 5D. The season statewide gets underway Sept. 30 and runs until Nov. 11.
In their deer population report, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said deer numbers in WMU 5C and 5D is stable. As such, the agency allocated 79,000 antlerless hunting permits for 5C and 24,000 for 5D. Perhaps the reason for the wide spread between the two, wherein 5D used to encompasses much of deer rich Bucks County and where allocations were always highest, is because of a redistricting of some of that area to 5C.
It’s nice to know 5C has a stable herd. And it’s interesting to note all the places deer now call home in Lehigh County.
Aside from the large tracts (and deer) that encompass the properties of the former Trojan Powder Company (Jeris Corp.) as it was once known and still referred to it by us old timers, there are loads of small woodlots that hold deer in Lehigh alone. To begin, there’s the Tercha property off old Route 22 outside Fogelsville where a herd of deer are almost always seen feeding at dusk in the fields there. I’ve also spotted a few deer in the small brushy area behind South Mall in Salisbury Township, Lehigh Country Club property, the woods behind Walmart in Whitehall Township (it was called the West Catty woods when I was growing up there), around the quarries in Egypt, Ormrod, and Ironton, the Twin Lakes Golf Course, the entire South Mountain parcel, the former Apple Hill Ski Area on Kernsville Road in Orefield, along the Lehigh River, even heavily used Trexler Park where a lame deer has taken up refuge according to several reports. But these places don’t help hunters as most are off-limits to hunting. So that leaves asking permission to hunt at suburban farms in Lehigh and Northampton counties or the game lands of #205 off Route 309 in Lowhill Township and #217 along the Blue Mountain in Washington Township Lehigh County. In Northampton County, it’s predominately SGL #168 along the Blue Mountain.
Also in Lehigh County, there are small open areas for archery-only around the Trexler Zoo (formerly Trexler Game Preserve) and a small tract of farm/wooded area on Lehnert Road in Scheresville off Mauch Chunk Road in Whitehall Township. The latter deer are also hold-up in the wooded parcel behind the old grist mill on Mickley Road and the apartment complex bordering Route 22 in Whitehall.
It’s amazing how deer have adapted so well to these places that offer some cover and provide many of their needs in spite of their populous locations.
Last archery season, bowhunters in WMU 5C took 12,290 deer of which 5,300 where antlered and 6,990 antlerless. In local 5D, 6,460 deer were harvested comprising 2,280 antlered and 4,180 antlerless.
As with every archery season there’s usually treestand injuries and fatalities. It behooves all bowhunters to wear a safety harness while climbing and in their treestands. And with warm weather predicted for the week, it’s wise to quickly field dress your deer and get it cooled or to a meat processor. If you don’t want the delightful venison, donate it to Hunters Sharing the Harvest program that several butcher shops participate in. In Lehigh County it’s Hartman’s Butcher Shop, New Tripoli (610-298-8232), and in Northampton County it’s Nello’s Specialty Meats, Nazareth (610-759-0628). Or your local food bank.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.