Buck Season Increase
Inside the Outdoors, December 1,

So the big question remains. Will this year’s buck season increase over the past several seasons? Those are the thoughts of not only the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) but also many of the sportsmen and women who are taking or took to the field this season to harvest their trophy whitetail deer.

If one is unaware, the statewide firearms season began Nov. 27 and will end Dec. 9.
According to the PGC, “In most areas, hunters may take only antlered deer during the season’s first five days, with the antlerless and antlered seasons then running concurrently from the first Saturday, Dec, to the season’s close. In Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5C and 5D, however, properly license hunters may harvest either antlered or antlerless deer at any time during the season.”

As the story goes, hundreds of thousands of hunters entered the woods of the commonwealth opening day to search out the deer of their choosing for that long awaited take of that trophy animal.

In case one is unaware, firearm’s season for whitetails has been the state’s principal tool for managing deer for more than a century. It is the season that draws the largest crowd. In contrasts, one could compare this season to opening day trout season when the same occurrences take place. That is one thing these two different species have in common. There are two differences between the two. In some rural areas, schools close their doors on opening days to allow their students and teachers to hunt. Not so with trout season. Second, one can release the fish into the water to live on for future catches.

The PGC stated, “The firearms season opener is the day every hunter wants to be afield. It’s almost always the most exciting day of the season and there usually offers the greatest opportunity. About a quarter of the season’s buck harvest occurs (occurred) on the opener.”

So, is 2017 going to be the year of a harvest increase of these animals? The PGC’s biologists believe this to be so. PGC’s Executive Director Bryan Burhans revealed, “It’s an exciting possibility that banks on last year’s massive acorn crop and a mild winter paving the way for big bucks to get bigger and for more young bucks grow into legal racks. There is no doubt something special is happening, “ he said. “For the past few months, hunters have been sending us trail-cam photos of amazing bucks, maybe even new state records. Our field officers are also seeing plenty of bucks from farm country to the big woods. Some are real wall-hangers out there.”

I’ll tell you more when I get reports from processors throughout the area.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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