2017-03-18 / Front Page

PGC: region’s deer herd rebounding

Another sign of the deer herd’s rebound in northcentral Pennsylvania emerged this week when the Pa.

Game Commission (PGC) released results from the 2016-17 hunting seasons.

Hunters, tourist-based business owners and even the PGC game managers confirm that while whitetail numbers are nowhere near the levels seen at the turn of the century, they’re higher than they were three or four years ago.

PGC’s “harvest numbers,” calculated by field research and hunters’ reports, show that the statewide buck kill increased 9 percent, and the overall deer kill was up 6 percent, in the 2016-17 seasons.

Local figures mirrored the statewide totals. For Potter, Cameron and other counties in wildlife management units 2G, 2H and 3A, there were an estimated 13,500 bucks taken. That compared to 11,800 in the 2015-16 seasons. Antlerless deer totals were 9,700, up from 9,200.

Behind the numbers are some interesting trends. PGC confirms that the percentage of archery and flintlock muzzleloader hunters continues to rise. Bowhunters accounted for one-third of the overall deer kill, while 20,400 were taken during muzzleloader seasons.

And, as affirmation of the agency’s antler-size restrictions, the ratio of older bucks (2.5 years or older) killed by hunters was 56 percent.

All eyes now turn to Harrisburg, where the Game Commission directors will convene on March 28 to hear staff recommendations on how many antlerless deer licenses to sell in each wildlife management unit. Doe license sales are the PGC’s primary deer population control tool.

Game biologists will assess deer-kill data, measures of herd health, forest regeneration rates, deer-human conflicts and other factors to produce their report for directors’ decisions.

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