Pennsylvania’s statewide archery deer hunting season gets underway Sat., Oct 1 and continues until Nov. 12, plus, on Sunday Nov. 13 that is the initial Sunday hunts that add Nov. 20 and Nov. 27 to the deer hunting calendar.
A word to hunters who hunt private property on Sundays, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) said hunters must carry with them written permission from the landowner to be there.
This weekend’s archery deer opener is the first of a four-part season. The season restarts Nov. 14 to Nov. 18, then resumes Dec. 26 to Jan. 16, 2023. Of course, the season opened Sept 17 in WMU’s 2B, 5C and 5D where the deer population is overly abundant says the PGC.
According to the PGC, these seasons give hunters an opportunity to chase deer before, during and after the peak of the rut, the latter is the time when trophy bucks throw caution to the wind as they chase doe to mate.
For the 2021 season, resident archery season license sales reached a second-highest total of 341,885, down slightly from the 2020 season. Nonresident archery licenses sales totaled 19,099 also down a tad from 19,164 in 2020.
Last season, bowhunters harvested an estimated 130,650 deer of which 68,580 were antlered and 62,070 were antlerless. The PGC says that week one of the season was the most productive for antlerless deer, while week five and six were tops for antlered deer that were within the rut period.
The PGC reminds bowhunters of a few regulations in regards to archery equipment. Foremost is that hunters may use illuminated nocks for arrows and bolts as the aid in tracking or locating the arrow or bolt. However, transmitter-tracking arrows are illegal.
There are also questions about the recent controversy regarding using deer scents in the form of deer urine. The urine has come into focus because of CWD cases among some deer. When asked about their use this season, Travis Lau, PGC Information Officer wrote back and said, “It’s still legal to use deer urine outside CWD Disease Management Areas, and illegal inside them. There is a proposal on the PGC Boards weekend agenda that would make deer urine and other secretions unlawful to use statewide.” Shortly after Lau sent this, and over the weekend, the PGC Board of Commissions meeting voted on the subject and in a 4-4 vote, the bill failed to gain majority support meaning it will advance no further toward adoption at this time, but there will be an opportunity to bring it up in the future.
Other reminders are that tree stands and climbing devices that cause damage to trees are unlawful to use or occupy unless the user has written permission from the landowner and are illegal on game lands, state forests and state parks. Tree stands or steps that penetrate a tree’s cambium layer will cause damage. It’s also unlawful to build and occupy tree stands that are screwed or nailed to trees on state property.
Archery deer hunting season is the finest time to be afield as the weather is still tolerable and deer have not been spoked, chased or shot at as they are during the rifle seasons.
While mentioning deer scents and if you’re looking for real fresh scent, not the bottled scent that’s been on Cabela’s and Dicks Sporting Goods store shelves for some time, stop in at Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy at 4642 Kernsville Road in Orefield. Bob’s gets his Yurine Luck Buck and Doe lure in fresh weekly. It’s available in 1 1/4-oz and 4-ounce bottles. For operating hours call 610-398-7609.
In the last column on the Muhlenberg College's polar bear restoration, I mistakenly identified Dr. Danlel Klem who did the bear project when it was Dr. Peter Saenger of Muhlenberg College. I apologize for this error as I had mixed up the phone numbers for the two professors.
The much-anticipated archery deer hunting season in local WMU’s 2B, 5C and 5D. gets underway Sept. 17.
It’s a perfect time to be afield and woodlands as the weather is warm, deer are still in their summer feeding habits, and haven’t been chased according to Brian Malone, Vice President of Pradco Outdoor Brands that includes companies such as Moultrie feeders, Summit tree stands, Knight & Hale Game Calls, Whitetail Institute and others.
Malone who was born in Pennsylvania and has been a bowhunter for 28 years and has bow hunted in several states, says some hunters prefer to pursue bucks right out of the gate while others hope to arrow a doe first to put some venison in the freezer. But for him, he likes to target mature bucks in the early season for the following reasons:
*Bucks are in a summer pattern so you have a better chance of seeing them in daylight.
*Fewer people hunt the early archery season so you don’t have as much competition interfering in your hunt.
*Bucks aren’t as spooky or pressured because they haven’t been hunted for months.
*There’s even a chance you’ll have an opportunity to shoot a buck that’s in late velvet.
His next suggestion is to hunt the food. Hunt the early-season food sources that include corn, soybeans or hay fields, and you’ll find deer. If those options aren’t around, Malone says to search for soft mast crops like apples, crabapples or berries.
And with the early bow season almost upon us, the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation (TSSA) has proclaimed September as Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month. As such, they remind hunters about tree stand safety as every season some hunters fall or slip out of their tree stands and get injured and in some cases, die from their fall.
The organization points out that falls occur due to loss of grip, loss of balance or a slip. They contend that hunters should maintain at least three points of contact be it two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot.
Their primary call to safety is if you don’t have a full-body harness, DON’T CLIMB, but hunt from the ground, perhaps in a ground blind.
PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION REMINDS HUNTERS OF CWD
The PGC reminds hunters about regulations that prohibit the movement of high-risk carcass parts from deer, elk and other cervids to control and prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). These regulations impact hunters going out of state this fall or those hunting within a Disease Management Area (DMA) and CWD areas in Pennsylvania.
As such, hunters are prohibited from importing parts of materials from high-risk cervids taken in any state or country outside Pennsylvania. The high-risk parts include the head, lymph nodes, spinal cord/backbone, spleen, skull plate with attached antlers, cape, unfinished taxidermy mounts and brain-tanned hides.
To date, the PGC says CWD has been found in about 1,000 deer, but has not been detected in Pennsylvania’s elk herd.
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.