Sunday hunting dates get preliminary OK
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners on Saturday gave preliminary approval for three Sunday hunting dates, along with concurrent hunting of bucks and does across the state during the 14-day firearms deer season.
The game commission approved expanded Sunday hunting on Sunday, Nov. 15, for archery deer season; Sunday, Nov. 22, for bear hunting during the bear firearms season; and Sunday, Nov. 29, for deer hunting during the firearms deer season.
Under recent legislation signed into law, the game commission is permitted to add three Sundays for the 2020-21 seasons, one in archery deer season, one in firearms deer season and one of the commission's choosing.
Final approval of the 2020-21 seasons is expected at the game commission's April meeting.
The proposed firearms deer season will begin on Saturday, Nov. 28, include Sunday, Nov. 29, and continue through Saturday, Dec. 12, excluding the second Sunday. The change in tradition to the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the start of rifle season began in 2019.
Another significant takeaway is preliminary approval of concurrent hunting of antlered and antlerless deer statewide for the duration of firearms season. Currently, aside from a few select areas, hunting is limited to bucks only for the first week.
The board also retained antler restrictions that have been in place for adult and senior license holders since the 2011-12 seasons. It remains three points on one side for all Wildlife Management Units other than 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D on the west side of the state. Those WMUs must continue to follow a "three-up" rule on one side, not counting a brow tine.
Hunters exempt from antler restrictions are mentored youth hunters, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active-duty military on leave.
The following are some of the deer seasons that were given preliminary approval, as provided by the game commission:
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 3-Nov. 14, Nov. 15 and Dec. 26-Jan. 18, 2021. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, FIREARMS (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Nov. 28, Nov. 29, Nov. 30-Dec. 12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, MUZZLELOADER (Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 17-24. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, FLINTLOCK (Antlered or Antlerless) Statewide: Dec. 26-Jan. 18, 2021. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.