Pennsylvania deer kill up

Buck harvest climbs 9 percent

Harrisburg, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s deer harvest jumped by 6 percent last season, and the buck kill was up 9 percent, Game Commission officials announced.

Hunters harvested an estimated 333,254 deer in 2016-17, up from 315,813 during the 2015-16 seasons.

Of that total, 149,460 were antlered bucks – an increase of about 9 percent compared to the previous license year.  It’s the largest harvest of antlered deer since 2002.

Hunters also bagged an estimated 183,794 antlerless deer in 2016-17, which represents about a 3 percent increase compared to the 178,233 antlerless deer taken in 2015-16.

Bowhunters accounted for nearly 33 percent of the overall deer harvest, taking 109,250 deer (59,550 bucks and 49,700 antlerless whitetails). Another 20,409 deer (1,350 bucks and 19,059 antlerless deer) were harvested during muzzleloader seasons.

Commission figures showed the percentage of older bucks in the harvest remained high, with 56 percent of bucks taken by Pennsylvania hunters during the 2016-17 deer seasons being 2½ years old or older. In 2015-16, 59 percent of bucks in the harvest were 2 ½ years old or older.

“This has been quite a year for Pennsylvania deer hunting,” said Game Commission Executive Dire ctor R. Matthew Hough. “Not only was there an increased deer harvest and a significantly higher buck harvest, I saw hundreds of photos from hunters who took their buck-of-a-lifetime this past season. Among them was a hunter whose Clearfield County harvest shattered the state record for nontypical bucks taken with archery tackle.”

Harvest estimates are based on more than 24,000 deer checked by Game Commission personnel and more than 100,000 harvest reports submitted by successful hunters. Because some harvests go unreported, estimates provide a more accurate picture of hunter success.

The antlerless harvest included about 64 percent adult females, about 20 percent button bucks and 16 percent doe fawns.

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