With just about two months remaining until the 2019-2020 hunting season begins, now is the time to put the hours into food plots and ensure permits and tags are in order.
While you’re doing so, rest assured that the deer population in Pennsylvania is going strong, ready for the fall harvest ahead.
In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) antlerless allocation plan, deer populations in local areas are considered stable.
The deer population in each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) is taken into consideration — among other things — when allocating each year’s antlerless permits.
In WMU 2A, which covers parts of Washington, Greene and Fayette counties, the PGC has listed the deer population plan as stable, and has actually allocated 3,000 less permits than last year, for a grand total of 46,000. To date (according to the PGC website), more than 41,000 of them still remain.
For WMU 2C, though, the PGC’s objective is to reduce the deer population, as also indicated in the comments portion of their 2019-2020 antlerless allocations deer plan goals. 2C covers portions of Fayette, Westmoreland and Cambria counties, among others.
They plan to achieve that by allocating 52,000 permits, up 8,000 from last year’s 44,000 permits.
To date, more than half of those permits have already been sold through initial sales to both residents and non residents, with about 23,000 remaining. On Monday, the first round of sales for unsold license will begin. The second round is slated to begin August 19.
When it comes to determining the management goals and recommendations each year, the PGC says they take into account the management of “healthy deer, healthy forest habitat and acceptable levels of deer-human conflicts.”
Overall, the PGC said in their management and biology report for 2009-2018, that hunting season and bag limit challenges faced by today’s deer management program are no different than they were 80, 50, or 10 years ago.
“Hunting is the primary tool used to change deer population in abundance,” they said. “The Game Commission determines success based on attainment of its mission and deer management goals across the state.”
They further added that while goals and allocations put forth might not always be met with positive feedback, their deer and wildlife management efforts are “grounded in the best data with consideration for Pennsylvania’s wildlife and natural resources, for today and tomorrow.”
This year’s allocations come off of what the PGC called their “highest overall deer harvest in 14 years.”
During the 2018-2019 hunting seasons, 374,690 deer were harvested.
“Hunters took plenty to antlerless deer, which was anticipated with a 2018-2019 allocation of antlerless deer license that exceeded the previous license year’s,” officials said in a press release. “The 2018-2019 overall antlerless deer harvest was 226,940, which is about 10 percent larger than the 2017-2018 harvest of 203,409.”