Another look at the 2015-16 deer harvest

Posted on: March 18, 2016 | Bob Frye | Comments

Blog--Deer harvestPennsylvania’s archery hunters tend to take their deer close to home.

There are a lot of good reasons to go to deer camp. Getting to shoot a doe with a bow is apparently not one of them.

That’s what the numbers suggest anyway.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission earlier this week released its deer harvest estimates for the 2015-16 seasons. They say hunters killed 315,813 deer last season. That’s an increase of about 4 percent over the year before, when the estimate was 303,973.

Breaking those numbers down is revealing.

One thing that stands out is what hunters are shooting and where.

The “big woods” areas – wildlife management units 2F, 2G, 2H and 3A – that are home to so many hunting camps and so much public land in such big chunks account for a fair number of deer killed. They gave up 18,800 bucks, for example. That’s 14 percent of the total buck kill.

But only 4,670 of those – 9 percent of the total – were taken in archery season.

The disparity between the doe kill and the archery doe kill in those units is equally noticeable.

Hunters in those same four units took 14,900 antlerless deer, or 8 percent of the overall doe harvest.

Breaking that down by season, though, shows hunters there took only 2,590 does in the archery season. That’s 5 percent of the archery doe kill.

So, then, where are archers hunting?

Around the state’s population centers, that’s where. The buck kill shows that most clearly.

The top four units for archery buck harvest are, in order, 5C, 2D, 5B and 2B. Units 5C and 5B are just east of Philadelphia; unit 2B surrounds Pittsburgh, while 2D is just to the north, taking in all of Armstrong County and parts of several nearby counties.

Together, they accounted for 35 percent of the archery buck kill, or 17,840 animals..

By comparison, they produced 32,900 bucks across all seasons. That’s 24 percent of the total.

The top four archery doe units last season were 2B, 5C, 5B and 5D. That only makes sense. Excepting 5B, they have the longest doe seasons and more licenses available, per capita, than anywhere else.

Hunters in those units took 45,300 does overall, or 25 percent of the total. Of those, 21,420 were taken in archery season; that’s 45 percent of the total.

The trend is similar, though less pronounced, when it comes to muzzleloader harvests.

Anyway, here’s a look at how the units rank in various categories. Listed is the unit and the deer killed there in 2015-16.

Overall buck harvest

  1. 2D: 12,300
  2. 2C: 9,100
  3. 5B: 8,000
  4. 3C: 7,600
  5. 5C: 7,400
  6. 4D: 7,200
  7. 2F: 7,000
  8. 1B: 6,900
  9. 3B: 6,800
  10. 2A: 6,500
  11. 4E: 6,200
  12. 2G: 6,100
  13. 1A: 6,000
  14. 4B: 5,700
  15. 4C: 5,400
  16. 2B: 5,200
  17. 4A: 5,100
  18. 2E: 4,700
  19. 3A: 4,300
  20. 3D: 3,500
  21. 5A: 2,900
  22. 5D: 2,200
  23. 2H: 1,400

 

Overall antlerless harvest

  1. 2D: 15,700
  2. 2B: 15,000
  3. 5C: 13,600
  4. 5B: 11,500
  5. 2A: 10,500
  6. 3C: 10,500
  7. 1A: 9,100
  8. 4A, 8,670
  9. 2C: 8,490
  10. 1B: 7,700
  11. 4D: 7,443
  12. 3B: 7,400
  13. 4B: 7,000
  14. 4E: 6,900
  15. 2F: 5,400
  16. 2E: 5,300
  17. 5D: 5,200
  18. 4C: 5,000
  19. 5A: 4,600
  20. 2G: 4,100
  21. 3A: 4,000
  22. 3D: 3,700
  23. 2H: 1,400

 

Archery buck harvest

  1. 5C: 4,880
  2. 2D: 4,780
  3. 5B: 4,430
  4. 2B: 3,750
  5. 2C: 3,130
  6. 1A: 2,610
  7. 1B: 2,560
  8. 3B: 2,320
  9. 2A: 2,160
  10. 4C: 2,150
  11. 4E: 2,150
  12. 3C: 2,060
  13. 2F: 1,860
  14. 4D: 1,840
  15. 5D: 1,770
  16. 4B: 1,660
  17. 2E: 1,460
  18. 2G: 1,340
  19. 3A: 1,180
  20. 3D: 1,060
  21. 4A: 960
  22. 5A: 880
  23. 2H: 290

 

Archery doe harvest

  1. 2B: 7,880
  2. 5C: 6,310
  3. 5B: 3,790
  4. 5D: 3,440
  5. 1A: 2,480
  6. 2D: 2,330
  7. 2A: 2,110
  8. 3C: 1,940
  9. 4D: 1,714
  10. 2C: 1,687
  11. 3B: 1,620
  12. 1B: 1,480
  13. 4A: 1,401
  14. 4B: 1,400
  15. 4C: 1,380
  16. 4E: 1,340
  17. 5A: 1,010
  18. 3D: 980
  19. 2E: 800
  20. 2G: 800
  21. 2F: 780
  22. 3A: 760
  23. 2H: 250

 

Muzzleloader buck harvest

  1. 2D: 120
  2. 5C: 120
  3. 1A: 90
  4. 3B: 80
  5. 2C: 70
  6. 5B: 70
  7. 2G: 60
  8. 4D: 60
  9. 2B: 50
  10. 4C: 50
  11. 4E: 50
  12. 1B: 40
  13. 2A: 40
  14. 2E: 40
  15. 2F: 40
  16. 3C: 40
  17. 3D: 40
  18. 4A: 40
  19. 4B: 40
  20. 5D: 30
  21. 3A: 20
  22. 5A: 20
  23. 2H: 10

 

Muzzleloader doe harvest

  1. 2D: 1,970
  2. 3C: 1,460
  3. 2A: 1,390
  4. 4A: 1,285
  5. 3B: 1,180
  6. 1A: 1,120
  7. 5C: 1,090
  8. 2C: 1,066
  9. 5B: 1,010
  10. 4D: 968
  11. 2B: 920
  12. 4B: 800
  13. 4E: 760
  14. 1B: 720
  15. 2F: 720
  16. 2E: 700
  17. 2G: 700
  18. 3A: 640
  19. 4C: 620
  20. 5A: 590
  21. 3D: 520
  22. 2H: 250
  23. 5D: 160

Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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Bob Frye is a storyteller with a passion for all things outdoors. He hunts, he fishes, he hikes, he camps, he paddles, backpacks and snowshoes depending on the season. If he’s not an expert at anything, it’s because he’s passionate to try a little bit of everything.