Speak Your Mind on Deer Seasons: You Will Likely be Heard

If there was ever a time when hunters from the northeast should
voice their opinion to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, it’s this
month.

The PGC board meets Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 to give preliminary
approval to the hunting and trapping seasons, as well as bag
limits, for the 2011-2012 season.

As is usually the case, deer will be a main topic when it comes
to setting seasons. The current board has shown a penchant for not
only listening to the concerns and opinions of hunters, by acting
on them as well.

That’s a good thing, in my opinion, and I wouldn’t be surprised
if some commissioners on the board pushed to have Wildlife
Management Units in their districts changed from the concurrent
two-week rifle season for buck and doe to the split format that has
been implemented in several other units.

Last year the board added WMUs 2C, 2E, 4D and 4E to the split
season format, which is the first five days antlered deer only
followed by seven days open to antlerless and antlered deer
hunting. The move raised the number of WMUs in the split season to
12.

So why should hunters from the northeast speak up now? Because
two of the split-season WMUs (3C and 4E) are in the northeast
region, and when those that hunt there voice an opinion about the
format, they are speaking from experience.

I’ve hunted deer in both 3C and 4E, along with 2D – another WMU
with a split season, and I like the format. Those first five days
of the season, when it’s basically bucks only, for several reasons.
Focusing on bucks only is a more exciting, challenging way to hunt,
especially with antler restrictions in place. When I hear a shot
echo off a nearby hillside, you know that a hunter either bagged a
buck or missed it and it may be heading your way – just like things
used to be when antlered deer season was a full two weeks followed
by three days of doe.

But that’s not all. The first five days of the split season
doesn’t have the free-for-all feel of the concurrent season – when
there is a tendency for some hunters to hunt with the
brown-it’s-down approach.

Most of the hunters I’ve spoken with in the split season WMUs
like the format. The few that didn’t told me they prefer the
concurrent season because they don’t have much time to hunt.
Filling their freezer with venison is more of a concern than
bagging a buck, some have told me.

And that’s fine. If you like the split season or prefer two
weeks of the concurrent format, let the board know before its
January meeting. I know the opinions of hunters in the northeast
will be strongly considered. After all, when it comes to the split
season, we’re speaking from experience.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Tom Venesky

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