According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters who took part in the first archery-only elk hunt Sept. 14-28, (98 general season elk license holders, 27 for bulls and 71 for antlerless), elk hunters are primed for one of the most exciting hunting adventures in the Keystone State.
The general elk season begins Monday, Nov. 4 and ends Saturday, Nov. 9.
The archery season was held in five of Pennsylvania’s 14 Elk Hunt Zones. The 15 hunters taking part in the archery hunt were selected by lottery after applying to participate. Separate drawings were held for the archery season, general season and late-antlerless-only season, with applicants paying $11.90 to be part of each drawing. More than 60,000 individuals put in for the elk license drawings, says the PGC.
All five archery bull elk hunters were successful during the archery season, and all took trophy animals. Five of the archery antlerless elk license holders harvested animals.
“The bulls were extremely active and vocal during the September archery season,” said Game Commission elk biologist Jeremy Banfield. “They were responding to calls, and in a few cases multiple bulls came charging in to hunters. Hunting during the elk rut certainly provided some exciting hunting,” Banfield added.
Hunters holding licenses for the general season should have been scouting and learning the area if hunting without the services of an outfitter. Outfitters operating in the area are regulated by the Game Commission and have intimate knowledge of the thousands of acres of private and public lands, and for hunters who don’t have the time to scout might benefit from a guide service.
Hunters who do not harvest an elk during the general season may participate in the extended season, in which they are permitted to take either an antlered or antlerless elk outside of the state’s Elk Management Area.
“Trophy bulls were harvested during the archery elk season, there’s much to be excited about for those lucky hunters holding bull and antlerless licenses for the upcoming general season,” said Bryan Burhans, Game Commission Executive Director.
Hunters participating in elk firearms seasons must wear, at all times, 250 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, visible 360 degrees.
Successful hunters must attach the tag to the ear of an elk immediately after harvest and before the carcass is moved. In addition, within 24 hours, each hunter who harvests an elk must take it, along with his or her hunting license and elk license, to the Game Commission check station, where samples are collected to test for chronic wasting disease, brucellosis and tuberculosis. The elk check station is open to public and located at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the 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.