At their recent meeting, the Board of Game Commissions gave final approval to the 2023-24 hunting/trapping seasons, bag limits, certain season modifications, expanded opportunities for mentored hunters and antlerless deer licenses allocations. They are as follows.
*Black bear hunting in WMUs 1B, 2C, 4A and 4D were removed from the extended firearms season because of declining nuisance complaints in these units.
*For elk, the archery season will be a week later than in 2022-23 to provide added time between the license drawing and beginning of the season.
*Small game season received an expansion of opportunity for put-and-take hunting of captive-reared bobwhite quail in most of Pennsylvania, through an earlier season opening date, later season closing and removal of the daily bag limit. Crow season dates and additional Thursdays as hunting days, were approved to shift hunting opportunity from the peak breeding season to the fall and winter months.
*The 2024 youth and regular spring turkey seasons will open five days later than in 2023 due to normal calendar fluctuation and PGCs turkey management plan.
*The Saturday start of the firearms deer hunting season will continue on a Saturday. The move from a traditional Monday opener has, says the PGC, saw a license sale increase by hunters ages 18-34 and female hunters due to this opening change.
*PGCs board approved a measure that makes all mentored hunters and mentored adults, eligible to participate in the October special firearms season for antlerless deer and bears.
*Approved were the allocation of 1,095,000 antlerless deer hunting licenses, which is up from 948,000 allocated in 2022-23. The statewide allocations by Wildlife Management Units are as follows with last year’s allocations appearing in parenthesis. Of special note is that WMU 2H was eliminated and placed within WMU 2G.
*WMU 1A, 46,000 (43,000); WMU 1B, 37,000 (34,000); WMU 2A, 46,000 (39,000); WMU 2B, 53,000 (49,000); WMU 2C, 88,000 (67,000); WMU 2D, 86,000 (74,000); 2E, 52,000 (42,000); 2F, 49,000 (37,000); 2G, 35,000 (31,000); 3A, 21,000 (19,000); 3B, 32,000 (33,000); 3C, 40,000 (37,000); 3D, 41,000 (41,000); 4A, 61,000 (50,000); WMU 4B, 46,000 (34,000); 4C, 32,000 (31,000); 4D, 77,000 (55,000); 4E, 54,000 (42,000); 5A, 40,000 (31,000); WMU 5B, 60,000 (60,000); WMU 5C, 70,000 (70,000); 5D, 29,000 (29,000). Only one WMU (3B) had a reduction in allocation while the others saw increases.
As for the elk seasons, 144 elk licenses (65 antlered, 79 antlerless) were allocated across the three 2023-24 seasons. For the one-week general season that will run Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 30 antlered and 42 antlerless tags have been allocated. For the archery season, that’s only open in select Elk Hunt Zones, it will run Sept. 16-30, with 18 antlered and 8 antlerless tags available. In addition, there are 17 antlered and 29 antlerless licenses available for the Dec 30-Jan. 6 late season.
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.