Seems like the whitetail population in Pennsylvania is growing
Talking with friends from Tioga County and Berks County, along with other friends that have archery hunted Centre, Potter and Schuylkill Counties, they all agree that whitetail populations are much stronger in their areas than just a couple of years past.
Three friends have already tagged nice bucks this year. Others have seen various males sporting both large and small racks, but have yet to take a shot for various reasons.
Doe with young are being seen regularly too, and I know a couple of the female of the species have also been harvested by a different friend.
I cannot, however, state that everyone is happy with the number of deer they see both when hunting and when just plain traveling, because I know there will be a good number of complaints that “deer just aren’t out there.”
Of course, I’ve heard that grumble and moan ever since I started hunting, which is a long time ago.
There could be numerous factors that come into play if indeed the overall whitetail population across the state has risen (and I believe it has).
Reduced anterless tags would play a huge part, along with the fact the many hunters have refused to shoot doe when the chance has arisen.
In the majority of the state, the first week of rifle season has been antlered only, with the antlerless season beginning the first Saturday. This, without a doubt, reduces the doe kill, which in turn, increases future numbers.
Antler restrictions have also provided safe passage for young bucks through the woods and fields where hunters go.
Weather plays a part in both deer kills by hunters and Mother Nature herself. Seems that overall, the recent winters have not been extremely harsh, allowing good numbers of young and older deer to see spring.
I personally see more deer both hunting and traveling these days than I can remember, and I can say that I’ve witnessed the steady increase over the past few years without fear of being refuted.
]Of course with deer numbers expanding, all hunters share the burden to keep the overall herd healthy by not allowing them to over-stress their habitat, and to keep in check the threat of chronic wasting disease.