Regulation should mean bigger archery harvest
By Bob Frye, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Hunters like their antlers in and around Armstrong County, apparently.
Look at the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer harvest estimates for last year, and you'll see that archers took 3,790 bucks in wildlife management unit 2D — which takes in all of Armstrong and parts of Westmoreland, Indiana, Butler, Venango, Clarion and Jefferson — last year. Only one of the state's other 21 units gave up more.
And some believe this year could be even better.
Unit 2D has lots of hunters and lots of deer, as always, said Gary Toward, a wildlife conservation officer in Armstrong County for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. But this year, a "3 up" regulation change that says hunters can take any buck with three points to a side — not counting the brow tine — should mean more deer in the legal category, he said.
"I've been seeing a lot of deer like that in my travels around. I think the rule is going to put a lot of those bucks into the sights of archers," Toward said. "And I suspect a lot of people are going to take advantage of that."
It's not just unit 2D that was good, though. Harvest estimates show that the western third of Pennsylvania offered some of the best bow hunting to be had last year, with six of the top 10 units for buck harvest and five of the top 10 for does.
Expectations are high for this year, too. The statewide archery season opens Saturday, and "there's definitely a buzz," said Steve McBride, owner of The Archer's Edge in Oakdale.
"We started getting busy at the end of July, last month was just ridiculous and it's not slowed down. Everybody seems pretty excited," he said.
A number of hunters have already taken does - an antlerless-only season opened in units 2B, 5C and 5D on Sept. 17 - and are now focusing on bucks, McBride added.
There seem to be plenty of those out there, according to Jim Ozohonish of Ozie's Sport Shop in Rices Landing.
"Guys are talking about seeing lots of good bucks on their trail cameras. They're bringing in pictures every two or three days, and usually at least one of those is always a 140-class buck," Ozohonish said.
Toward said he hasn't seen anything that big this year, nor has he heard reports of any. But he suspects the season and the area will live up to expectations.
"I think it's going to be a pretty good season," Toward said