Biologists in the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Deer and Elk Section will recommend a return to statewide concurrent, 12-day firearms seasons for antlered and antlerless deer to the Board of Game Commissioners at the April 14-15 meeting.
View full size
Jose E Rodriguez took this photo of a row of white-tailed deer emerging from the wood line into his backyard in Dauphin County. Share your Pennsylvania wildlife photos with readers of The Patriot-News and www.PennLive.com/outdoors
by sending them, with your name and hometown, to [email protected]
SPECIAL TO THE PATRIOT-NEWS At Monday's pre-meeting working group session, Christopher Rosenberry, supervisor of the section, said, "The seven-day season (in which hunters in some of the state's 22 wildlife management units had an antlered-only week followed by a week of concurrent antlered and antlerless) did not achieve its biological objective." Deer populations in some non-concurrent WMUs boomed, despite increased numbers of doe licenses issued to keep them under control.
In addition, he said, most hunters were not satisfied with the results of the seven-day season, which they ranked as the least preferred alternative to the 12-day concurrent season. The non-current season did not have a "second opening day effect," in which hunters would have been attracted to travel to the WMUs with the non-current seasons.
He said the 12-day season recommendation is based on results of population monitoring studies on nearly 2,300 tagged deer and the results from surveys of 26,000 hunters over the past four years.
In the surveys, Rosenberry said, while hunters over age 45 show a decided preference for the seven-day concurrent season, those under age 45 said they preferred the 12-day concurrent season.
"The 12-day concurrent season is preferred by Pennsylvania's future hunters and their mentors," he said, noting that the seven-day antlered-only season also limited time to hunt, for those hoping to harvest antlerless deer. He pointed to other commission research that has found "time to hunt translates into more interest in hunting."
However, he explained, "we're not recommending 12-day concurrent to reduce the deer population, and we're not recommending the 12-day season to increase hunter satisfaction."
If commissioners vote to return to the statewide, concurrent, firearms season, Rosenberry said, commission biologists will recommend fewer doe licenses for 2013-14: 369,000, rather than the 417,000 they would feel compelled to recommend with the split firearms season in some WMUs.
By WMU, the recommended allocations for a 12-day concurrent season, and for a five-day antlered and seven-day concurrent season, are:
WMU 1A, 49,000, 57,000; WMU 1B, 31,000, 35,000; WMU 2A, 50,000, 58,000; WMU 2B, 62,000, 71,000; WMU 2C, 46,000, 51,000; WMU 2D, 46,000, 65,000; WMU 2E, 22,000, 22,000; WMU 2F, 23,000, 29,000; WMU 2G, 25,000, 32,000; WMU 2H, 4,000, 6,000; WMU 3A, 26,000, 30,000; WMU 3B, 36,000, 39,000; WMU 3C, 30,000, 44,000; WMU 3D, 49,000, 57,000; WMU 4A, 36,000, 41,000; WMU 4B, 20,000, 24,000; WMU 4C, 35,000, 40,000; WMU 4D, 30,000, 35,000; WMU 4E, 27,000, 28,000; WMU 5A, 26,000, 29,000; WMU 5B, 61,000, 71,000; WMU 5C, 108,000, 125,000; WMU 5D, 18,000, 21,000