2012-10-13 / Outdoors

Early season ‘doe’ hunting opportunities

Today, Saturday, Oct. 13, marks the start of Pennsylvania’s early antlerless deer seasons.

In the upcoming week, muzzleloader hunters will be able to take antlerless deer.

After opening today, the season runs through Oct. 20. Unlike the late muzzleloader hunting season after Christmas, hunters will be able to hunt does this week with percussion cap and inline rifles, as well as with flintlock rifles.

In addition, junior license holders, mentored youth hunters, seniors, certain disabled hunters and active-duty service members will be able to hunt does with conventional rifles starting Thursday, Oct. 18 through next Saturday, Oct. 20.

Hunters will be able to use both DMAP and wildlife management unit-specific antlerless tags for the early antlerless deer seasons.

For the last several years the Game Commission has been holding these early doe seasons. Each year the seasons grow in popularity.

This early doe season accomplishes two things. First, it helps the Game Commission better control deer populations. There are a wide variety of opinions on how many doe licenses need to be issued, but the truth is doe harvests are necessary to prevent overpopulation and habitat damage.

The most important aspect of the early season doe hunt is that it gives youths a chance to harvest does before deer are pressured and harder to hunt.

Young hunters should be given all possible opportunities for success. The Game Commission should be commended for creating this early season opportunity.

Although not applicable for the 2012 hunting season, in the future DMAP antlerless deer tags will also be available for adult mentor hunters to transfer to mentored youth hunters. For this year, only the traditional antlerless deer tags issued by wildlife management unit are available for transferring to mentored youth hunters.

In order to participate in the early antlerless deer season, mentored youth must obtain a MYHP permit ($2.70) for the current year, and they may receive only one antlerless deer license by transfer during a license year. Adult mentors may transfer more than one antlerless deer license, but they must be to different mentored youth.

Hunters participating in the early October antlerless deer seasons are required to wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing on the head, chest and back combined at all times while in the field.

Archery hunters afield during the overlap of the archery and October antlerless firearms seasons also must orange while moving and display an orange alert band while on stand.

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