From the York Dispatch: “The (Pennsylvania Game Commission) reported that a total of 374,690 deer were harvested during the state’s 2018-19 hunting seasons, which closed in January.
“That total tops the previous year’s harvest of 367,159 by about 10 percent.”
The 2018 antlerless harvest of 226,940 was up about 10 percent over last year. Data show that most does—64%–killed by hunters were 2.5 years old, and the remainder were 1.5 years old.
The 2018-19 buck kill of 147,750 was down 10% from the previous season. The commission says that steady, heavy rain during opening weekend of gun season was the biggest reason for the decline—it kept a lot of hunters out of the woods, and the bucks didn’t move well in the poor conditions.
During any year, about half of Pennsylvania’s overall buck harvest typically occurs on opening day of firearms season. It’s like that in many states.
In a positive trend that you see in states across the country, the percentage of older bucks in the 2018-19 PA harvest was high. About 64 percent of the bucks shot by hunters were at least 2½ years old.
“That almost two-thirds of the bucks…were at least 2½ years old is a tribute to the science our deer managers use and the sacrifices a generation of hunters made in the commonwealth,” said Bryan Burhans, the game commission’s executive director. “The bucks being taken every day in Pennsylvania’s deer seasons are living proof that this commonwealth has never managed whitetails better.”
In the photo: Longtime BIG DEER blogger Terry “Big Daddy” Murphy shot this buck on October 16, 2018 on his land in Potter County. It was Big Daddy’s 40th archery buck in 40 years of hunting Pennsylvania, which is a 1 buck per year state.
Thanks for posting the picture Mike. The property I manage and the public property the state takes credit for are worlds apart, I doubt I could have taken 1/4 of those deer on public land here in Pa. . The PGC is about the only people who have much use for the PGC here in Pa. anymore. Hunter recruitment is down as are deer numbers when Pa. had 25-30 deer per square mile every hunting camp was full with waiting lists to jooin today they sit vacant as the PGC tries to increase recruitment thru failed programs. The truth is deer hunting statewide is in poor shape and until numbers rebound from the 4 deer per square mile they are at today on public land hunter numbers will continue to stay down. It is hard to sell a product if you have no product on the shelves to sell.
Doubt me ask most any deer hunter in the state that has been at it for more than 30 years and you will get the same reply. There are pockets of good deer numbers but not many. My success is solely because I own enough land to manage it myself. I give little credit to the PGC.