Next Saturday (Oct. 3) is the start of the statewide archery hunting season for antlered and antlerless deer. The season runs until Nov. 14 including Sunday, Nov. 15 and again from Nov. 16-20. Then there’s the post Christmas Day late season from Dec. 26 until Jan. 18.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) makes note of some regulation changes for archers going afield:
*For bowhunters hunting during the three, first time Sunday hunting days, and when hunting on private property, hunters are required to carry written permission from the landowner.
*Hunters are reminded of the new “Purple Paint Law” that entitles landowners to mark their boundaries with purple markings instead of signs.
*Hunters may use illuminated nocks for arrows or bolts but may not use transmitter-tracking arrows which are illegal.
*If using portable tree stands on state game lands, they must be marked with durable identification that identifies the stand owner. Tags must include owner’s name, address, CID number appearing on their hunting license or a unique number obtained from the PGC’s Outdoor Shop or PGC website.
*Portable tree stands on state game lands must be removed no later than two weeks after the close of the flintlock and late archery seasons.
Additionally, if hunting in a chronic wasting disease (CWD) area and when shooting a deer from a disease management area (DMA), the PGC says you cannot take high-risk parts including, meat, the head, spinal cord, backbone, spleen, skull plate and attached antler - if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present and more – beyond DMA boundaries (listed on PGCs website). The skull plate with attached antlers, may be removed if no visible brain or spinal cord material is present. There are several sites where hunters can dispose of high-risk parts from public areas within DMA’s. Consult the PGC’s website for locations.
The PGC says this doesn’t mean hunters who take a buck have to give up the antlers, as they can take the rack and skull plate – if properly cleaned - to a taxidermist or home and put the rest of the head in a collection bin for testing.
If the deer is suspect, the agency said hunters can take it to any processor or taxidermist located inside the DMA boundaries, or, a cooperating processor or taxidermist identified on the interactive map at www.bit.ly/PGC-CWDmap, or at http://bit.ly/wherecanitakemydeerPGC.
There has also been some controversy regarding using deer urine as attractants for deer hunting. In contacting Bob Frye, PGC’s CWD Communications Specialist, he said deer urine may not be used in CWD/DMA areas. But when asked about the new 100 percent CWD free urine from Inventive Outdoors, a Woodbridge, VA based company, Frye said, “If the product is indeed free of cervid urine, it’s legal to use inside or outside of a disease management area.”
While on the topic of deer scent, Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield received the first batch of his fresh “Yurine Luck” buck urine. Last season several bowhunters told him they managed to lure their bucks into bow range by putting down a urine trail with his fresh buck scent.
Also on Oct. 3 is the special rabbit hunting season for eligible junior hunters with or without required license. The season ends on Oct. 17 when the statewide season opens for rabbits. This is an opportunity for juniors to learn the sport and enjoy the great outdoors.
ANTLERLESS DEER LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS UNDER REVIEW
Pennsylvania Game Commission staff today appeared before the Board of Commissioners to deliver a report on the application process for antlerless deer licenses.
While the existing process is required by state law, and can’t be changed by the Game Commission unless the General Assembly first passes legislation that amends the law, the commissioners asked staff in July to proactively review the process.
Existing state law requires that antlerless deer licenses be issued by county treasurers.
Game Commission staff determined the existing automated license system used by the agency is capable of issuing antlerless licenses, either on a first-come, first-serve basis, or through lottery. Staff identified its preferred option is selling antlerless deer licenses on a first-come, first-serve basis, and identified a procedure and plan for implementing this process. The Commission will now continue to work with the General Assembly on amending Title 34 to allow for modernization of the antlerless license sale process.
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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.