Deer Seasons, Bag Limits Set with Some Changes

Pennsylvania hunters finally have season dates for the 2015-16 season along with bag limits to start planning hunting trips.

Pennsylvania hunters finally have season dates for the 2015-16 season along with bag limits to start planning hunting trips.

More than 746,000 antlerless deer permits have been approved and allocated to wildlife management units for deer hunters as final season dates and bag limits have been approved in one of the nation’s most deer-crazy states.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has set hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2015-16 license year, which begins July 1.

The commissioners also set the number of antlerless deer licenses to be allocated, as well as the number of elk licenses to be allocated for the coming license year.

The board voted to allocate 746,500 antlerless deer licenses statewide. Allocations by Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) are as follows, with the allocation from the previous license year appearing in parentheses: WMU 1A46,000 (47,000); WMU 1B 29,000 (30,000); WMU 2A 43,000 (46,000); WMU 2B 61,000 (60,000); WMU 2C 31,000 (38,000); WMU 2D 55,000 (61,000); WMU 2E 21,000 (21,000); WMU 2F 22,000 (27,000); WMU 2G 22,000 (22,000); WMU 2H 6,500 (5,500); WMU 3A 19,000 (18,000); WMU 3B 28,000 (33,000);WMU 3C 36,000 (32,000);WMU 3D 25,000 (25,000); WMU 4A 30,000 (28,000); WMU 4B 26,000 (26,000); WMU 4C 25,000 (25,000); WMU 4D 33,000 (33,000); WMU 4E 25,000 (21,000); WMU 5A 19,000 (19,000); WMU 5B 50,000 (49,000); WMU 5C70,000 (95,000); and WMU 5D 24,000 (18,000).

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Hunters should note the boundaries have changed for WMUs 5C and 5D, and that WMUs 1A, 1B, 3A and 3D have been added to the split-season format that offers five days of antlered deer-only hunting followed by seven days of concurrent antlered and antlerless hunting during the statewide firearms deer season.

Concurrent hunting for antlered and antlerless deer throughout the entire firearms deer season remains in WMUs 2B, 5A, 5B and 5C.

The board also directed that 13,500 antlerless permits be made available to hunt and harvest deer within Disease Management Area 2, which in the 2015-16 license year will include parts of Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Cambria, Fulton and Somerset counties. This is the second year for the permit, which is meant to reduce antlerless deer numbers in the only area of the state where chronic wasting disease has been detected among free-ranging deer.

Hunting licenses for 2015-16 go on sale in mid-June and become effective July 1. After hunters purchase a general hunting license, they may apply for antlerless deer licenses based on staggered timelines, which will be outlined in the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest presented to each license buyer. The 2015-16 digest also will be available at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us in mid-June.

SEE ALSO: Do You Believe Any of These Deer Rifle Myths?

Several highlights pertaining to 2015-16 seasons and bag limits follow:

Split Firearms Seasons Approved
The Board of Game Commissioners adopted a slate of deer seasons for 2015-16, giving final approval to a split, five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 30-Dec. 4) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 5-12) in 18 Wildlife Management Units. The list includes (WMUs) 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E.

The package also retains the two-week (Nov. 30-Dec. 12) concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 2B, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.

Hunters with Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) antlerless deer permits may use the permits on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season, and will continue to be permitted to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 30- Dec. 12 in 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.70 for residents and $35.70 for nonresidents.

DMAP permits also may be transferred to Mentored Hunting Program participants.

The board retained antler restrictions in place for adult and senior license holders. The restrictions remain as “three-up” on one side, not counting a brow tine, for the western Wildlife Management Units of 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D, and the three points on one side in all other WMUs. Those exempt from these antler restrictions are mentored youth hunters, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty military on leave.

Another deer-season change to gain final approval applies to Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, where the archery season has traditionally opened early, with the first weeks being open to antlerless deer hunting only.

The commissioners gave final approval to concurrent hunting of antlered and antlerless deer in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D during all seasons, with the first segment of the archery season to run from Sept. 19 to Nov. 28 in those WMUs.

SEE ALSO: Plan Your Deer Hunting Dates Now Around the Peak of the Rut!

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 19- Nov. 28 and Dec. 26-Jan. 23, 2016. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 3-Nov. 14 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 30-Dec. 12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E: Nov. 30-Dec. 4. One antlered deer per hunting license year. (Holders of valid DMAP antlerless deer permits may harvest antlerless deer on DMAP properties during this period.)

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E: Dec. 5-12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide): Oct. 22-24. Junior and Senior License Holders, Mentored Youth Permit Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 17-24. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 9. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D): Dec. 26-Jan. 23. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS EXTENDED REGULAR FIREARMS: (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties): Dec. 26-Jan. 23. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

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