SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. -- Oh dear, some Pennsylvania residents might be saying, following the arrest of a 36-year-old man for stealing deer carcasses worth more than $2,400, the suspension of a police officer for shooting a deer, and the release of state Game Commission data showing a 12 percent increase in the number of white-tailed deer harvested last season over the year before.
Pennsylvania hunters harvested an estimated 422,960 white-tailed deer in the 2022-23 seasons that closed at the end of January -- 164,190 buck and 258,770 antlerless, he state Game Commission recently disclosed. In 2021-22 the harvest was estimated at 376,810 deer.
The buck harvest is “a good indicator” of the overall deer population trend, officials said.
“The long-term buck harvest trend indicates Pennsylvania’s deer population is in a pretty good place right now,” said David Stainbrook, deer and elk section supervisor, state Game Commission. “We see generally stable population trends in most of the state, near goal levels, and we are seeing more of the older bucks available for harvest.”
Most deer were harvested in the regular firearms season -- 251,520 (87,190 bucks), the report said. Bow hunters harvested 145,640 deer. The Commission also reported the number of deer hunters in Pennsylvania is down to about 650,000 from a million in 1986.
The data release came just days after the state Game Commission brought charges against Fred Gummo, 36, who admitted to stealing multiple deer carcasses from a Centre County hunting camp.
Investigators said he stole three white-tailed antlered deer carcasses and had them in his basemen, and the three stolen deer have a monetary value of $2,400, plus an $800 replacement cost for a non-trophy class white-tailed deer.
Charges against Gumman include misdemeanor theft, multiple counts of taking/possessing other wildlife and other related charges. A preliminary hearing is set for April 26.
In another case, a Pennsylvania police officer was suspended and put on unpaid leave after being accused of shooting an antlered whitetail deer during the closed season near Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer last fall.
Jacob A. Pollick, 29, of Murrysville, faces charges from the state Game Commission including unlawful killing or taking of big game, as well as tampering with evidence.
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