At their recent meeting, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners adopted the deer hunting seasons for 2017-18. They proposed a split five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 27-Dec. 1), a seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 2-9) in 20 Wildlife Management Units and retained the two-week (Nov. 27-Dec. 9) concurrent antlered and antlerless deer season in WMU’s 2B, 5C and 5D. DMAP permit holders will continue to be able to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 27-Dec. 9 in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A/C/D/F/G/H, 3A/B/C. 4A/B/C/D/E. 5A and 5B. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.90 for residents and $35,90 for nonresidents.
Antler restrictions will remain the same this season for adult and senior license holders with the “three-up” on one side (not counting a brow tine) ruling in WMUs 1A/B, 2A/B/D, and three points on one side in all other WMUs. Exempt from these restrictions are mentored youth hunters, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active-duty military on leave.
Modifications include moving the statewide archery bear season to the next-to-the-last-week of the archery deer season; changing the firearms deer season in WMUs 5A and 5B to bucks-only from the opening day through the first Friday; opening a conservative mid-week fall turkey season in WMU 5B; reducing the season length in WMUs 4A/B/E; eliminating the post-Christmas segment of the ruffed grouse season to improve adult survival due to recent population declines; restoring an extended black-bear in WMU 3A; opening of the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Pheasant Recovery Area to a youth-only pheasant hunting season; opening WMU 5A to put-and-take bobwhite quail hunting given the lack of wild quail in the area and the low likelihood of quail reintroduction being initiated there soon.
In addition, the PGC Board approved a statewide allocation of 804,000 antlerless deer licenses, up from 748,000 licenses in 2016. The following allocations are for the more popular local WMUs Lehigh Valley hunters travel to. Allocations from the previous license year are in parenthesis:
WMU 3B: 30,000 (28,000); WMU 3C: 42,000 (36,000); WMU 3D: 25,000 (25,000); WMU 4C: 29,000 (25,000); WMU 4E: 27,500 (25,000); WMU 5B: 57,000 (50,000); WMU 5C: 70,000 (70,000); and WMU 5D: 30,000 (30,000).
If you would like to apply for an elk tag, the board issued 118 elk licenses (25 antlered and 93 antlerless) for the 2017 hunt. As customary, the licenses will be awarded by lottery so you must enter the drawing by July 31. Elk applications are $10.90 and only one application may be submitted each license year.
For those sportsmen who plan their vacations around the big game hunting seasons, the antlered/antlerless archery deer season in 2B, 5C and 5D is Sept. 16-Nov. 25 and Dec 26-Jan. 27 2018; statewide the same runs Sept. 30-Nov. 11 and Dec. 26-Jan, 13; Deer (antlered/antlerless rifle) WMUs 2B, 5C, and 5D, Nov. 27-Dec. 9; antlered only (rifle) in all other WMUs is Nov. 27-Dec. 1.
Black bear (WMU 5B archery) Sept. 30-Nov. 11; WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D (for muzzleloader) Oct. 14-21; WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D (special firearms) Oct. 19-21 for junior/senior/disabled license holders the latter who have a permit to use a vehicle as a blind, active duty military; (rifle) WMU 1B, 2C, 3A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E, Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
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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.