Concurrent deer seasons not among proposed hunting changes

Posted on: February 7, 2018 | Bob Frye | Comments

Concurrent deer seasons are no longer the norm in Pennsylvania.

Concurrent deer seasons won’t be coming back to Pennsylvania any time soon, it seems.
Bob Frye/Everybody Adventures

The most requested change to hunting seasons for 2018-19 is the one Pennsylvania Game Commissioners aren’t interested in.

That’s concurrent deer seasons.

Popular opinion is the reason.

At the commission’s recent board meeting, a handful of people asked for two weeks of concurrent deer seasons. That’s when both bucks and does are legal.

They’d like that option specifically in the statewide firearms deer season.

Brad Nelson is coordinator of the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative. Its goals are to improve hunting experiences and deer and forest health on 70,000 acres of public and private land in northwest Pennsylvania. To reach those goals, Nelson said, it’s important to maintain hunter numbers.

Yet, he pointed out, federal surveys show participation declined by 16 percent between 2011 and 2016.

Concurrent deer seasons could help reverse that, he said.

“As demographics and lifestyles change, we believe it is imperative for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to maximize the number and flexibility of options to enable those interested in hunting to participate around ever-more-restrictive work schedules and participate in ways that maximize the probability of success for new hunters and for senior hunters,” Nelson said.

Other options for help hunters could include opening firearms deer season on a Saturday, he noted.

Mary Hosmer, a resident of that same general area, likewise said concurrent deer seasons would be a huge help to hunters.

Many of the industrial plants in wildlife management units 2F, 2G, 2H and 3A have gone to mandatory 56-hour work weeks, she said. As a result, many would-be hunters are simply unable to get into the woods, she said.

And when they can, she added, if their or two days falls during the bucks-only hunting period, their doe tag goes to waste.

“I would encourage you to do some out of the box thinking about helping us hunters get into the woods considering the large changes in today’s employment norms across the northern tier,” Hosmer said.

Concurrent deer seasons and a Saturday opening day would help those people, she added., So, too, would a third week of firearms deer season.

Commissioners aren’t interested, however.

Board member Brian Hoover of Chester County said the majority of hunters seem satisfied with split seasons. Complaints about deer are way down, he noted.

At the same time, the commission is meeting its deer harvest and management goals, he added.

Other changes likely

Commissioners approve some other changes for seasons in 2018-19, though.

The rules changes aren’t official just yet. Final approval has to come at the board’s April meeting, when the board also decides how many doe licenses to allocate for this fall.

But given that all of the proposed changes passed the board unanimously, the changes highlighted are expected to sail through without objection.

One change involves black bears.

Commissioners expanded bear hunting opportunities in several wildlife management units.

Specifically, units 4A and 5A would get a four-day extended season. Bear hunting would be allowed on the Wednesday through Saturday of the first week of the firearms deer season. Unit 3A would go from four to six days of extended hunting.

In another change, commissioners proposed opening two additional wildlife management units – 4B and 4C – to fisher trapping.

They also gave preliminary approval to opening four wildlife management units to either sex pheasant hunting. They are 2A, 2C, 4C and 5B. That would allow for a better, more equitable, distribution of stocked pheasants, they said.

The only places managed under cockbird-only rules will be those around the remaining wild pheasant recovery areas.

Finally, board members proposed opening all dove hunting – regardless of where in the calendar it falls – at a half hour before sunrise. In seasons past, hunters couldn’t start until noon in the dove season’s first segment.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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