Two-week concurrent rifle deer season proposed in Pennsylvania

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At their January 23 meeting, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved a statewide, 14-day concurrent antlered and antlerless firearms season, which was proposed to simplify regulations and provide increased opportunity, especially for younger hunters.

For those of you who don’t keep up with such things, this vote means that any hunter with proper tags could harvest a legal antlered buck or doe on any day of the season in all 23 wildlife management units. Sounds reasonable, right?

I personally love this decision, but I am not getting too excited yet.

Rewind — Jan.25, 2020, the Pennsylvania Game Commissioners preliminarily passed the same 14-day concurrent rifle deer season for the entire state.

Even though it makes no logical sense, the not-enough-deer complaining hunters added their political influence and the final approval vote in April watered down the proposal to include only 10 of the 23 wildlife management units.

Why does it make no logical sense?

The change to a concurrent season is not intended to increase the antlerless harvest, as the antlerless allocation is the primary tool for managing deer populations. If the concurrent seasons proposal would have been approved by the board at the April 2020 meeting, the antlerless license allocation would have been reduced accordingly to reflect the additional seven days of hunting opportunities.

The same will happen this April, if it receives final approval.

According to the commission, the antlerless allocation is based on the estimated number of tags required for hunters to harvest the number of deer necessary to meet the population objectives within a unit. If the season had extended an additional five days, fewer tags will be required to meet the population objectives than would have been required in a shorter season.

The targeted harvest of antlerless deer doesn’t change whether the antlerless season is two weeks, one week or three days.

Why is a two-week concurrent deer season best for hunters? It is simple, it gives hunters a choice — it puts them in control. Even when allowed, many hunters choose not to shoot the first antlerless deer that they see. However, let’s say that your work schedule only allows two or three days to hunt — maybe only one.

Shouldn’t you be able to harvest a doe on the opening morning of the season if you have the permit, and choose to? Why not?

Concurrent seasons have little or anything to do with reducing deer numbers. They have everything to do with providing more opportunity for hunters with limited time and, if they have an antlerless deer license, it puts them in control. Why would any reasonable person want anything less?

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Pennsylvania – Mark Nale, Whitetail Deer

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