Pennsylvania Game Commission’s proposal for rifle season is controversial
Living in the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania, where concurrent anterless and antlered deer regulations for all deer hunting seasons remain in place ever since they were first enacted, I’ve been surprised at the number of complaints I’ve heard locally about the Game Commission’s proposal to once again put in place a statewide concurrent rifle season.
Most complaints I’m hearing vary in structure, but the basic argument in all of these objections is that deer numbers are again showing signs of increasing in portions of Pennsylvania where they had virtually disappeared, and now the Game Commission once again wants to — in hunter vernacular — “kill them off.”
Most of the complaints, at least those in the vicinity of where I live, are from hunters who are once again returning to their “upstate camps” a bit more frequently to hunt deer because they are finally seeing increased numbers.
I have an opinion, and please keep in mind it’s only an opinion, as to the reasoning behind the PGC’s wanting to make rifle season concurrent buck and doe harvest legal.
This past season the opener for rifle season began on a Saturday instead of the traditional Monday start. The Game Commission produced evidence that license sales increased because of that regulatory change. An increase in license sales equates with an increase in revenue, and there’s no denying the PGC has a huge dependence on license sales money to function properly.
I have a strong feeling that the commission believes giving hunters a chance to harvest any legal deer on those days they can hunt will once again produce an increase in license sales, thus increasing monetary returns, and that this is the foremost reason behind the proposal.
To be fair, with the concurrent season being in place for all this time here in the southeast where I live, the overall deer herd seems to be doing well, showing no ill-effect from that regulation. But to also be fair, I’m not certain what a statewide concurrent rifle season will do to deer numbers in those areas where they seem to be increasing, and how that may eventually reduce future license sales.
The only aspect of the proposal I am certain of is this: This regulation will be in place come the rifle season opener unless people contact the PGC with their complaints before the April meeting that makes this change official.