So, Im always a bit jealous of people I know that hunt in surrounding states that are able to harvest multiple bucks in one year. I'm sure there are many reasons for this. I took a quick look at last year's harvest reports for antlered deer in DE, MD, and PA. DE=6,505 MD=34,416 PA=127,540. Population and amount of registered hunter's must play a part as well as many other variables im sure. What do you all think?
Another thing that plays a part is that you generally can harvest a lot more doe as well. So, unlike PA, hunters in many states don't feel compelled to kill the first buck they see but often wait for larger ones as they can get the meat they want from does. I suspect many bucks walk even after encountering hunters in places with no harvest restrictions, thus keeping harvest numbers lower than they would be if they needed another buck to get their venison fill.
I live in GA and can harvest 12 deer per year including 2 bucks. I have no desire to shoot a small buck when I can take several doe for meat. Since I usually have several in the freezer by the time I come up to PA, I don't have much desire to shoot a small buck in PA either.
If you allowed two deer in Pennsy, I think a lot of smaller bucks would get shot. Guys would shoot the first buck they saw so that they could get their buck. Then they would concentrate on getting a bigger one with their 2nd tag. With only 1 tag, guys hold out for the bigger one much longer.
Rifles are the reason we can only take one. If we went to shotgun only, I bet 75% of the hunters would never get to pull the trigger. Well, they might, but shooting and hitting is a whole nother story. Having to pass up long range shots would most certainly result in a huge spike in our buck to doe ration due to survivability.