Memories are about to be made.

As recently as 2019, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in the number of bucks harvested per square mile (behind Michigan) and second in does per square mile (behind Delaware).

Hunters in Penn’s Woods took over 435,000 deer in the 2020-21 seasons, the highest harvest in 15 years, and hope to beat that mark after the new firearms season that opens tomorrow.

The season continues on Sunday, Nov. 28, and runs through Dec. 11, closing only on Sunday, Dec. 5.

The antlerless harvest could spike in some wildlife management units (WMU) as the Pennsylvania Game Commission this year made it possible for hunters willing to use antlerless tags to get more of them if the allocation hasn’t been sold out. It adopted a regulation change allowing hunters to hold up to six antlerless licenses at a time.

Hunters may also find themselves with opportunities to take a bear, as the extended bear season runs Nov. 27-Dec. 4 in WMUs 1B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 5A. It runs Nov. 27-Dec. 11 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D. WMU5A encompasses the great majority of Adams County. A hunter needs a general hunting license, as well as a bear license.

General hunting licenses can be purchased online, but it’s best now to buy them in person. While hunters can carry a digital version of their general license, they will still need paper harvest tags.

A valid tag must be attached to the ear before the deer is moved. The tag must be filled out with a ballpoint pen and notched or cut with the correct date of harvest. (I found that notching the tag was not as easy as it sounds and a bit dumb, before field dressing my archery buck. But I was able to avoid the opportunity to draw my own blood).

The harvest must be reported to the commission within 10 days.

Deer hunters statewide must wear at all times a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined, visible from 360 degrees. An orange hat and vest satisfy the requirement.

The western portion of Adams County falls within Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area (DMA) 2. Within any DMA, it’s illegal to remove any high-risk parts of deer; use or possess cervid urine-based attractants; directly or indirectly feed wild, free-ranging deer; and rehabilitate wild, free-ranging cervids.

The new deer season brings a few questions, some of them not new.

Have you adjusted your Thanksgiving holiday schedule in order to get to camp and be ready for the Saturday opening day?

Do you like the idea of hunting on Sunday? Does it create added opportunity for you?

Are antler restrictions working?

I’d be interested in knowing your opinions by email.

PICTURE THIS

I enjoy seeing photos of successful hunters, especially those with first bucks.

So, here are a few tips to make pictures of the hunter and deer more presentable and respectable.

One of the deer’s last acts of deviance is to stick its tongue out before it dies. Before taking its picture, cut the tongue off.

Gore does nothing to enhance the image, so first take a moment to wipe away as much blood as possible from animal and hunter, and no one wants to see its open body cavity.

Avoid pictures where people and deer are backlit and appear as silhouettes. Have the sunlight or spotlight coming from the front or side of your subjects.

Lastly, in the photo if you must prop the rifle against the downed deer, make sure the muzzle doesn’t appear to be pointing at the head of the person in the picture.

Happy and Safe Hunting!

Send your wild thoughts, hunting tales, and photos to bjsmall@comcast.net.

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