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Rifle deer season is dying, probably as the old guard is aging and stopping hunting. I will predict that as archery continues to grow the season will remain open from the current start straight through the end of January. With few hunting rifle season the resource will not be hampered and the population will need to be control by those that still hunt.

Anyone agree?
 

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I would agree that this seems to be the trend. But, an even stronger trend is hunter ranks are shrinking across the board. Hard to say what hunter numbers will be in 10 years and what the PGC will do to manage under different numbers. Who knows, maybe more gun opportunities.

Look at other states with smaller populations. They have longer seasons in general. Start earlier, end later. They have muzzle loader seasons where you can shoot buck or doe and you can use a scoped in-line. Other states have rifle hunts during the rut.

So, as our ranks shrink, we may actually see more gun seasons.
 

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As we lose deer hunters, opportunities will have to increase to reach management goals.My favorite season is archery season. With that said, archery hunters have had a lot of bones thrown their way over the years. If opportunity exists to expand a deer season, I would prefer the rifle folks get some extra time to hunt. The season could be expanded a week in some WMUs, I feel.
 

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Would also be nice to see ML hunters get a earlier season, for both buck/doe. I would be in favor of letting flint lock guys hunt the last week of archery season.

What ever the PGC chooses, I do agree that in the coming years, they will probably need to offer some additional opportunity so for those who still hunt. It may be 5 years away, maybe 10..........but I agree that day is coming.
Probably additional tag opportunities as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
buzz, you took the words right out of my mouth, ML is a very small group and as it stands now, only gets the crumbs. No worry allowing them an early opportunity. I am still skeptical that adding more time to rifle will bring the boots back to the woods. For me, I only hunted rifle before crossbows became legal and this gave me an opportunity to hunt as long hours of practice with a vertical bow held me back. In fact I know many rifle hunters who now hunt archery for the same reason. I am of the opinion that the rifle participation decline is simply a migration of many rifle hunters to archery with the crossbow legalize. And that makes since. Why hunt rifle buck with 40% harvested when one could hunt the 100% population. No brain'er and it's 6 weeks which allows a lot more time to hunt.
 

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It would work if they treated it like the special regs areas.Add where the deer populations won't be impacted in a negative way.
 

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Rifle deer season is dying, probably as the old guard is aging and stopping hunting. I will predict that as archery continues to grow the season will remain open from the current start straight through the end of January.

Anyone agree?
Nope. Latest stats show (2015) 935,146 total licenses sold with 750,000 (est) taking part in the rifle season. How does that show rifle season is "dying"?

Hunting License Sales Report

750,000 deer hunters expected in Pennsylvania's woods on Monday: Deer hunting 2015 | PennLive.com

There are problems with rifle season but a longer archery season is not the answer. Expand "geezer" season for the whole week, give the black powder shooters an early season too.
 

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As a predominant rifle hunter that when possible may get in some ML season in. I have no desire what so ever to archery hunt not even with a crossbow. Archers have what 6 week early season, the 2 weeks during rifle they can bow hunt then what 3 weeks post Christmas? ML get 6 weeks and pay the same for their tags? I am one that believes the popularity of archery is related to, length of season, time of year, during the rut. As a scenario change archery to the 2 weeks that are typically rifle season and after a couple years see how many archers you have. I as one vote believe the archers have been given plenty now it is the riflemans turn.
 

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In the next 10 years pa will be a 2 buck state. You will have to kill one of those bucks with a primitive weapon and the price of your muzzleloader or archery tags will go up alot. Game commission needs more money and the hunters are disappearing. This is a way that everybody wins.
 

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Most of all I would "like" to see Sunday hunting.

I would "like" to see the archery season run right to bear season.
I would "like" to see bear archery hunting included throughout bow season.
I would "like" to see a (3) day muzzleloader (in-line included) deer/bear season the week between when bow season ends now and start of rifle bear.
I would "like" to see in-line muzzleloaders included for the late season.
I would "like" to see a three week rifle season with the first two being concurrent and includes bear.

I have a lot of "would likes". LOL.
 

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I am still skeptical that adding more time to rifle will bring the boots back to the woods.
I don't think it will bring more boots back, but it would provide more opportunity to the boots that still hunt rifle season.

I am of the opinion that the rifle participation decline is simply a migration of many rifle hunters to archery with the crossbow legalize.
Certainly some have moved towards archery but we have lost way more rifle hunters than we gained archery hunters. By 100s of thousands.

Why hunt rifle buck with 40% harvested when one could hunt the 100% population. No brain'er and it's 6 weeks which allows a lot more time to hunt.
Be careful with those numbers. 40% represents the percent of the antlered harvest taken by archery. Not 40% of the total legal population available to harvest.
 

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Nope. Latest stats show (2015) 935,146 total licenses sold with 750,000 (est) taking part in the rifle season. How does that show rifle season is "dying"?

Hunting License Sales Report

750,000 deer hunters expected in Pennsylvania's woods on Monday: Deer hunting 2015 | PennLive.com

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PGC said 550,000 participated on the opener this year, down from 750,000 a few years ago and down from over a million 20'years ago. Not only are less hunting, but those that are hunting are hunting less hours. Many that buy a general license these days are not deer hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Be careful with those numbers. 40% represents the percent of the antlered harvest taken by archery. Not 40% of the total legal population available to harvest.
Good point and I stand corrected. And you are correct concerning current rifle numbers at 550K and not 750K. Rifle participation is in a free fall and I'm don't know where it levels off.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Certainly some have moved towards archery but we have lost way more rifle hunters than we gained archery hunters. By 100s of thousands.
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Aging demographics in play here and this will continue for a while.
 

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Good point and I stand corrected. And you are correct concerning current rifle numbers at 550K and not 750K. Rifle participation is in a free fall and I'm don't know where it levels off.
I have no idea how the PGC estimates deer hunter participation on the opener but they said 550,000 this year. This is down from an estimated million 20 years ago.

I can only speak from personal observations, but I see less pressure every year and far less shooting. Where I was hunting, the first shot on the opener was 8:15.
 

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Hunting opportunities will be expanding especially as baby boomers leave the sport over the next few years. My opinion is right now they could have an early 3 day ML season for buck and doe (include inlines), and let archery go from October till Feb and probably just have to slightly adjust the doe tags down.

We could extend rifle season as well, but by the 2nd week here hardly anyone is hunting anyway.
 

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Illegal for all, both ML and archers?

PS: I'm in favor of banning deer drives for all in archery, but that's just my opinion.


They could be banned for all seasons and it wouldn't break my heart. As long as people are hunting (treestand, still hunting, spot and stalk), I couldn't care less what weapon they use. I don't consider drives sporting
 
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