Deer season opens in PA

Deer season opens in PA
December 1, 2007 9:01:05 AM PST
Pennsylvania's two-week rifle deer season gets under way today when nearly one million hunters will go in search of deer to shoot. The season runs through Dec. 8."Preparing for deer season becomes a priority for most hunters as soon as the turkey is cleared off the table on Thanksgiving Day," said Carl G. Roe, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. "Anticipation, reviewing scouting efforts and ensuring all the equipment is ready makes the preparation a weekend-long endeavor that doesn't end until they head afield opening morning."

"It's a tradition that was handed down by our forefathers and one that we will continue for future generations. It's a safe and time-proven way to manage this renewable resource and ensure its conservation," Roe said.

Except for the southwestern part of the state, where some deer were killed this fall by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, most game officials predict good hunting.

There may be more opportunities because archery season action was slow. Hot weather seemed to stall the rut and many wild foods made it hard to find deer, said Jeff Egley of Gone For A Day sporting goods in Elderton.

"You couple the warm weather with a big acorn crop and deer didn't have to move too far," Egley said. "A deer could get up out of bed and feed real close and then bed down again without making himself too visible."

That means there should be some nice bucks still in the woods, said Chuck Mihalic of Page's Sporting Goods in Warren.

"We've been seeing some nice bucks, a lot of 8- and 9-points. And not very many were shot, so it should be a good harvest for the rifle hunters," Mihalic said.

Because of a change in state law, it is now legal to hunt from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

During the 2006-07 season, hunters killed an estimated 361,560 deer, 135,290 bucks and 226,270 antlerless deer - a 2 percent increase from the prior season.

Game Commission officials will also continue to collect samples from killed deer to test for chronic wasting disease, though it has not been found in the state.

The disease was first recognized in 1967 in Colorado. It attacks the brains of infected deer and elk and is in the same family as mad cow disease. It did not appear east of the Mississippi River in a wild herd until 2002 in Wisconsin.