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Pennsylvania Deer

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BEAR View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29 March 2020 at 10:47
Pennsylvania Deer hunting is interesting and different than most states .

PA has a mountain range running right thru the middle, and that area is mountainous with low population and small agriculture.  East of that range is generally flat and has large agriculture area then the coastal high pop areas Philadelphia.

West of the mountains is rolling hills.  Once this was farm land, with small marginal family farms.  that has changed, still some farms, but what use to be a 350 acre afarm is now just a rented plot with most farms having 2000+ acres in leased remote parcels, with lots of over grown acreage.

Pennsylvania has close to a million hunters.  And hunting is a short range limited season (13 days).
But as in past years PA hunters got more deer per square mile than any other state.  And is routinely listed as one of the top deer hunting states.  And we have antler restrictions, so racks must be 6 or 8 points minimum. Doe licenses are by WMU on a mail in first-come  basis. This year 390,000 deer were killed; including 164,000 antlered deer  (225,000 does).

Basically 1 in 2 hunters got venison, 1 in 5 got bucks, 1 in 4 got does.

Because of the thick woods, shots are close, average 50 yards.


Just some of the stats that came out this week.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 March 2020 at 21:48
That's interesting Bear. 

A little different than my neck of the woods. 

Wing master
I have always considered myself to be quite the bullshitter, But ocasionally it is nice to sit back and listen to a true professional......So, Carry on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2020 at 09:49
Out west you can scout and see for miles.  100 yards is about max distance you can see in the mountains here; so shots are close.  and remember with antler restrictions, you need to see the deer and count the points before shooting.  binocularss are a must.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2020 at 20:18
We have antler restrictions in a few areas here. very few areas.

I would like to see more antler restrictions. Every year I see so many spike and 2 point Mule Deer in the backs of pickups. It seems like you see 3 or 4 small deer for every one 4 point or better. 

Is their a down side to point restrictions?

Wing master
I have always considered myself to be quite the bullshitter, But ocasionally it is nice to sit back and listen to a true professional......So, Carry on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2020 at 09:49
Well, IN MY VIEW,  a deer range can only carry so many deer, the limiting factor is food.  that is usually determined by the winter, non-growth season.  Most deer ranges are over capacity, so we see deer destroyed vegatation, and some starving deer.

To implement antler restrictions  Means one out of two things must happen:

1)  The  range must supply siginificantly more bucks (basically all 1,2, 3 tear olds that are not hunted).  this means less does to maintain the same food supply.  This redduces the buck to doe ratio significantly.  Also since there will be a lot of last years small bucks around to breed.  some of these will be gene deficient and produce only small rack does.

2)  If the total does and bucks  are not reduced then We will have significantly less bucks harvested.   some thing like 50% of present buck deer killed.

3)  in reducing the does in the herds, one must harvest a lot of fawns, as 4+ year old does are significantly better mothers (breeders) than fawns and 1-2 year old does.  there will be less young deer and the balance can be difficult in a bad food year.

It is complicated.  and hunting is the only regulating force driving the buck/doe rato.

Just my opinion....the best system is the old system, let hunters shoot what ever they want.  Guy that don't care for antlers will harvest thos 1-3 year old bucks and be happy.  For the trophy hunter the big bucks will be there, but not as many, and the spike hunters will be gone the first day or two.  everyone is happy.

As I said, food is the limiting factor in any deer managemet proram.  Atler restriction works best where deer are given food, as on private deer farms and in the south where deer are feed and usually shot over food.  

In those pricate areas, antler genes are also managed by shooting 1-2 year old bucks with less than 6 points.  it gets defective genes out of the program. without getting bucks with spike-4 point genes out of the pool, eventually all male deer will be 3-4 point bucks.  I
this is the big failure of all state antler restriction programs, that and removing fawn does. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2020 at 22:13
Very interesting Bear. 

Around here most areas are "Buck only" with no antler restrictions. It's not unusual to see 50 or 60 does in a day. Usually you see a couple young bucks in a group of does. 

I assume their is big bucks around most places but they don't hang around does unless they are rutting. Maybe I need to hunt harder and get up on the side of ridges where they are probably hiding. 

That and glass those ridges more. 

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I have always considered myself to be quite the bullshitter, But ocasionally it is nice to sit back and listen to a true professional......So, Carry on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jsgbearpaws1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2020 at 04:25
Dept. of Interior claims a healthy deer ratio is 6-7 doe per buck and no more then twenty per sq. mile. My part of the state was 20-23 doe per buck without restrictions and upwards of 500 per sq. mile. Locally the herds have thinned out considerably in ratio and we are currently at 9 to 1 and just under 50 per sq. mile. I still see some small bucks every year but I also see many more 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 yr. olds with nice racks. Those were a lot more scarce even 10 years ago. Here the management has worked. It's tough pickins as it's so tight for cover close by and they know how to hide! They quit the green tag and red, as well as hunters figured it out quick the population here was thinned out so much it makes more sense to hunt elsewhere.

Son and I each get a doe tag every year. I filled one a few years back on a wounded doe that was bleeding out from a poor shot taken by a road hunter who never got out of the vehicle to even see if there was a blood trail or not. Twice in the past twenty and the son once. I have however had on numerous years obtained a fawn or two via the GC from vehicle strikes. Poor stupid little critters left alive with broken legs. Wardens dispatched a few because they where in the area and I always call first. The rest I put down and they sent me the permits in the mail. Meat has a peach color to it and just begs to be butter grilled. Veal of venison.
...oh yeah! thats gonna hurt!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2020 at 05:10
bucks don't generally hang with does except when a doe is in heat.  Almost like separate species.

The first year of 6 point or better in Pennsylvania, hunters killed almost the same amount of big deer as they did fork horns.  What does that prove???   the big bucks have always been there; but the antler restrictions FORCED hunters to hnt longer and harder to find them.  In the old days folks shot the first buck they saw; often in the first hour.


Personally I like to kill 2-3 year old bucks, best eating.  Fawn lack texture and flavor, jusy like veal, mushy.  Does don't reveal they age.  A mature deer you shoot could be 8-10 years old, tough.  But a fork horn or small rack antelope, deer, moos, elk is probably at it's best eating.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2020 at 15:38
Around here a lot of people shoot the first buck they see too. 

I have never shot a real big Mule deer. I have shot several 4X4's but nothing I would consider world class. I would like to get one "wall hanger"

After that I will be more than happy with a 2-3 year old. 

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I have always considered myself to be quite the bullshitter, But ocasionally it is nice to sit back and listen to a true professional......So, Carry on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote d4570 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2020 at 16:55
We make it a practice not to shoot any thing but at least a 4 point, western count.
 Some are better than others.
Even the GD did a 4 point white tail.
If I can count four I pull the trigger. The boy and his wife have some on the wall that push 200 point count.
Remember: Four boxes keep us free ,the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, AND the cartridge box
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2020 at 22:41
Points realy don't matter to me.  But when I see  10 point with wide thick horns, my blood pressure goes up.

I remember the shot more that the target.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2020 at 02:42
One of my life goals is a mulie that scores 200. 

Wing master
I have always considered myself to be quite the bullshitter, But ocasionally it is nice to sit back and listen to a true professional......So, Carry on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2020 at 07:03
Some times those goals rreally help to drag an this old man's bones out of a warm comfortable bed into the cold wet early morning.

I really just like getting out into the outdoors, seeing game is a bonus.  Shooting game stats to be just work dressing and dragging.can see in the future hunting big game with a camera.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2020 at 12:28
I have been applying for a deer tag in, what they call a trophy area, for the last 3 or 4 years. I still haven't drawn that tag. 

Last year I was hunting Elk in that area. I saw quite a few very respectable deer. 

I saw one really big deer. I don't know a whole lot about scoring antlers, but compared to mounts I've seen that scored 200 or more this was definately a 200 deer. 

I hope I draw that tag this year. 

Wing master
I have always considered myself to be quite the bullshitter, But ocasionally it is nice to sit back and listen to a true professional......So, Carry on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2020 at 12:41
Just keep applying, hope springs eternal.

Been applying for Maine moose and Pennsylvania elk tags for decades...no action, but enjoyable anticipation  even got a place to stay in Maine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MapleHill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2020 at 15:35
Originally posted by Wing master Wing master wrote:

Is their a down side to point restrictions?

Wing master

WM, the down side to antler restrictions is Gov't overreach. If I pay for my tag and want to shoot a little buck to eat so what. If you wanna chase trophies, go for it. Around here you may only see 1 antlered deer in 2mo of hunting. I have 3 "wallhangers" by our standards, 130", 140" and 150" bucks. All taken right here with in 2mi from my front porch. But there have been many years where a little spike or crotch horn are all I see. Hunting out west the last couple years I have found it to be a whole different ball of wax. You could easily hold out and shoot a respectable 4pt like D says. I have a big problem with the Gov't telling me what I can and cannot do, we have enough of that already. 
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More every day.  enough is enough.

I hate gov't telling me it is for my best good.  sucks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wing master Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2020 at 21:25
MapleHill

I totally agree on Government over-reach. 

Wing master
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Irish Bird Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2020 at 16:30

Pennsylvania Sets First Sunday Hunting Dates in 337 Years

by J. Scott Olmsted - Monday, April 13, 2020

After more than three centuries of proscription, Keystone State hunters this year will take to the field on Sunday—three of them, to be exact. Last week, Pennsylvania officials picked the first Sundays that may be hunted there since 1682, when a British blue law outlawed the activity. As reported by WNEP-TV, the Pennsylvania Game Commission made its decision Tuesday, April 7.

The commission selected Nov. 15 for archery deer hunting, Nov. 22 for bear hunting and Nov. 29 for rifle deer season.

In an alert to NRA members last Friday, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action reported, “Sunday hunting is a huge victory for sportsmen and women in Pennsylvania and will increase hunters’ ability to enjoy America’s hunting heritage.”

Thanks to the bipartisan efforts of three Pennsylvania state lawmakers, Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49th), Sen. Jim Brewster (D-45th) and Rep. Bill Kortz (D-38th), Senate Bill 147 was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf Nov. 27, 2019. On behalf of hunters everywhere, the legislators were honored with the NRA’s first-ever “NRA-ILA Defender of Hunting” award.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BEAR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2020 at 08:58
Actually, last fall wa the first time since 1060 that opening day was on a Saturday (previously it opened the monday following thanksgiving).  Hunters here don't like change, still can't hunt deer with an autoloading rifle.

Probably 50% of PA hunters prefer the monday opening day and no sunday hunting.

Being retired, those date things have little effect on me.  Old bones did like last year when I hunted sat and rested Sunday.
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