PA’s 2019-20 deer harvest estimates released

Posted on: March 19, 2020 | Bob Frye | Comments

The deer harvest estimate is pretty accurate.

Hunters took more bucks in Pennsylvania this past hunting season than the one before.
Photo: Pixabay

Pennsylvania hunters killed more deer in 2019-20 than at any other time in the last 15 years.

So says the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which released deer harvest estimates on March 19.

The total take was 374,690. That was up by 4 percent over the year before, and the biggest kill since 2004-05, when hunters took 409,320.

Driving last year’s harvest was an uptick in the buck kill.

According to the commission, hunters killed 163,240 antlered deer, an increase of 10 percent over the 2018-19 harvest of 147,750.

That’s not far off the highest-ever take since the advent of antler restrictions. That was 165,416.

“One of the highlights of the 2019-20 deer harvest was deer hunters continue to experience antlered harvest success levels comparable to historic highs in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” noted Christopher Rosenberry, the commission’s deer and elk section supervisor. “In recent years, about 17 to 18 percent of all hunters harvested an antlered deer, and we look for this trend to continue.

Roughly 66 percent of those bucks were at least 2.5 years old, Rosenberry added.

Meanwhile, hunters last year killed 226,191 antlerless deer. That includes 10,461 taken with chronic wasting disease deer management assistance program, or DMAP, permits.

That was on par with recent seasons. Hunters killed 226,940 does in 2018-19 and 203,409 in 2017-28.

About 69 percent of the doe harvest was made up of adult antlerless deer. Button bucks accounted for 16 percent of the take, and doe fawns the remaining 15 percent.

The harvest was not equitable across all wildlife management units.

The state has 23. The doe harvest was down in about half of them. Things dropped farthest – by 39 percent – in unit 2H, in the northcentral part of the state. It declined 23 percent in 3A, also in the northern tier, and 20 percent in 1B, in the northwest region.

Continuing what is now a long-term trend, archers accounted for a significant part of the overall harvest. They killed 74,190 bucks and 71,178 does.

That’s about one third of the total take.

Here’s a look at the deer harvest broken down by wildlife management unit. For comparison’s sake, they show the 2019-20 kill and, in parentheses, the 2018-19 kill.

  • 1A: 6,400 (5,800) antlered, 13,200 (12,400) antlerless
  • 1B: 8,700 (8,000) antlered, 12,700 (15,800) antlerless
  • 2A: 6,900 (6,000) antlered, 9,900 (10,900) antlerless
  • 2B: 5,500 (5,000) antlered, 10,400 (12,000) antlerless
  • 2C: 9,400 (9,600) antlered, 14,069 (11,787) antlerless
  • 2D: 13,000 (11,800) antlered, 18,888 (20,958) antlerless
  • 2E: 6,400 (6,300) antlered, 9,473 (9,701) antlerless
  • 2F: 9,000 (7,700) antlered, 9,724 (7,973) antlerless
  • 2G: 8,100 (6,300) antlered, 6,105 (7,402) antlerless
  • 2H: 2,400 (2,500) antlered, 1,100 (1,800) antlerless
  • 3A: 5,700 (4,800) antlered, 5,700 (7,400) antlerless
  • 3B: 7,600 (7,000) antlered, 10,300 (8,400) antlerless
  • 3C: 9,400 (7,700) antlered, 12,800 (12,200) antlerless
  • 3D: 6,000 (5,200) antlered, 4,900 (5,700) antlerless
  • 4A: 6,000 (5,100) antlered, 7,924 (8,230) antlerless
  • 4B: 5,700 (5,300) antlered, 8,285 (6,916) antlerless
  • 4C: 7,000 (5,800) antlered, 8,300 (7,200) antlerless
  • 4D: 8,700 (8,300) antlered, 10,955 (9,081) antlerless
  • 4E: 7,300 (7,000) antlered, 9,500 (9,300) antlerless
  • 5A: 3,400 (3,100) antlered, 5,000 (4,600) antlerless
  • 5B: 10,200 (9,200) antlered, 15,345 (14,608) antlerless
  • 5C: 7,600 (7,600) antlered, 14,427 (16,415) antlerless
  • 5D: 2,500 (2,600) antlered, 6,700 (6,000) antlerless
  • Unknown: 340 (50) antlered, 496 (169) antlerless

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Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or [email protected]. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

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