The Pennsylvania Game Commission reports that hunters harvested an estimated 430,010 whitetails last season.  The statewide buck harvest was estimated at 171,600, while the antlerless harvest was about 258,410.

The 20023-24 harvest is 2% greater than that of 2022-23, and 4% higher than the total harvest seen as a three-year average.

As for last season’s buck kill, it was by 5% over 2022-23, and up 6% over the three-year average. Overall, 27% of deer hunters shot a buck. That was a slight increase over 2022-23’s 26% success rate, and up significantly from the 15% success rate seen as recently as 2007-08.

The majority of bucks harvested are older than in decades past, too. Before antler point restrictions, most of the bucks harvested were yearlings (1.5-years-old). In 2023-24, 64% of bucks taken were at least 2.5 years old.

Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said the harvest numbers show the agency’s deer management program is working, not just from a biological perspective, but for hunters as well. “There’s no denying this a great time to be a Pennsylvania deer hunter,” Burhans said. “But best of all, these numbers show that we’re managing deer and their habitat in ways that are sustainable over the long haul. That’s not only best for deer, but for deer hunters, too.”

As is always the case, the regular firearms deer season accounted for the largest part of the 2023-24 deer harvest. Gun hunters shot an estimated 254,710 deer (86,260 bucks and 168,450 antlerless). Bowhunters, both vertical and crossbow, accounted for a little over a third of the total deer harvest, taking an estimated 154,850 whitetails (83,370 bucks and 71,480 antlerless deer). The estimated muzzleloader harvest was 20,450 (1,970 bucks and 18,480 antlerless).