Share This Page

Estimates show Pa. hunters bagged more deer

| Monday, March 25, 2013, 5:45 p.m.

If you're not an archery hunter, you might want to become one.

Bowhunters are reaping an ever-increasing share of the bounty when it comes to taking antlered deer across Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission released deer harvest estimates for the 2012-13 hunting seasons Monday. They show the harvest was 343,110, an increase of 2 percent over the 2011-12 take of 336,200.

Breaking that down, the commission believes hunters took 133,860 antlered deer this past season, or 5 percent more than the 2011-12 kill of 127,540. The doe kill also increased, though just by a fraction of 1 percent, from 208,660 in 2011-12 to 209,250 last season.

“This year's antlered deer harvest is slightly above the average harvest since 2005, when agency efforts began to stabilize deer populations in most of the state,” said commission executive director Carl Roe.

About 51 percent of the bucks were 2 12 years old or older. The other 49 percent were 1 12 years old.

Roughly one in four doe tags resulted in a dead antlerless deer. That's typical compared to past years, Roe said.

Those “doe” included 61 percent adult females, 22 percent button bucks and 18 percent doe fawns. Those, too, are typical, he added.

What has been changing in recent years is the time when bucks are being killed.

Between 1999 and 2008, the reported archery buck harvest increased from 19 to 28 percent of the overall buck take. Since 2008 — when crossbows became legal statewide — and continuing last year, archers have been taking 31 to 32 percent of the total bucks reported killed in a given season, said Chris Rosenberry, chief deer biologist for the commission.

Buck hunters, whether with rifle or bow, did particularly well in Western Pennsylvania last year. According to the commission's report, the buck harvest went up in 12 of the state's 22 wildlife management units. Of those 12, eight are in the western half of the state.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

The two units that saw the greatest increase in the buck harvest are also close to home.

The buck kill in unit 2D, centered around Armstrong County, increased by 19 percent, from 11,100 to 13,700. No other unit produced as many antlered deer.

The kill in unit 2F, centered around Forest County, went up about 24 percent, from 5,400 to 7,100. That was the biggest percentage jump statewide.

Rosenberry said such variations in the kill are “typical of what we have seen recently.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.