The Pennsylvania Game Commission board voted to double the number of antlerless deer licenses a hunter can possess at one time. At the board's April meeting, approval was given to allow hunters …
The Pennsylvania Game Commission board voted to double the number of antlerless deer licenses a hunter can possess at one time. At the board's April meeting, approval was given to allow hunters statewide to hold six (6) antlerless deer licenses at one time. The increase to six was made to accommodate hunters in Special Regulations areas and to make the regulation consistent on a statewide basis. The Commission's goal is now to get hunters to use the extra antlerless deer tags.
Once a hunter obtains six licenses, the hunter can't purchase additional licenses without first harvesting deer and reporting them. At no time is a hunter able to possess more than six unfilled antlerless deer licenses.
Matthew Schnupp, Director of the Game Commission's Bureau of Wildlife Management, updated the board on the status of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer. He said the agency's efforts to conduct CWD testing in 2020-21 wasn't hampered by the pandemic, more than 12,000 deer were tested and of those, 218 tested positive for CWD.
Schnupp stated that prevalence rates continue to be highest in Disease Management area 2, specifically in four counties. In what the Commission calls the Established Area within those four counties, the CWD prevalence climbed to nearly 14% in hunter-harvested adult deer, up from less than 8% a year ago. “This is a real grim reality check that we have to work together to manage CWD,” he said, noting the importance of hunters to focus their efforts in Established Areas of a disease management area.
Commissioner Tom Layton said, “An increase in CWD positives is certain in the future if hunters don't unite with the Commission to combat the disease. The Game Commission has asked for help from sportsmen across the the state in managing CWD, which is becoming a larger problem every year. Conservation is a big word and it's crucial that we all work together, as one, using the best science on a statewide level.”
Many sportsmen do not agree with the Commissioners, that overshooting and killing thousands of healthy deer with the reason of just stopping CWD from spreading, is not justified and is not the way to go. They have to come up with a better solution, instead of killing off Pennsylvania's deer herd.
Many hunters will purchase as many antlerless deer permits that they are allowed, but they will not use them.
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Mothers Day!
Jack Danchak is a longtime sportsmen and spent 30 years as the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County, Inc.