HARRISBURG, Pa. -- As the Pennsylvania Game Commission recommitted its decision to opening deer season on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it also addressed license allocations and said those hunters will have more than 1 million antlerless deer licenses available to them this summer, some 147,000 more than last year.
The figures were part of the Game Commission’s recent finalization of a new process to purchase antlerless deer licenses, and the data also indicated that there will be 34 fewer elk licenses in the 2023-24 hunting season.
Antlerless licenses can now be purchased online and at issuing agents, but not through the mail.
The license allocations are based on “scientific data and tailored to meet population objectives” within each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) and elk hunt zone, said the Game Commission.
“A simpler, more convenient system is better for hunter satisfaction, and ultimately, hunter recruitment,” said Byrne Burhams, executive director, Game Commission. “This change will fully modernize the process for issuing antlerless licenses.”
Several announcements by the Game Commission will be made in the near future, he said.
In giving final approval for the new season, the Game Commission also OK’d several modifications. Among them: because of “declining nuisance complaints,” some WMUs were removed from the extended firearms black bear season; the elk archery season will be a week later than last season to provide additional time between license drawing and the start of the hunting season, and falconers authorized to take certain furbearers.
The Game Commission also resolved what has been a much-debated issue: when to open the firearms deer season, the Saturday or Monday after Thanksgiving.
Iis answer: “License data demonstrates a positive change following the implementation of the Saturday opener. In particular, data shows the move to a Saturday opener was followed by increased license sales by hunters ages 18 to 34 and by female hunters.”
It also addressed license allocations.
“The Board intends to stand by allocations developed by staff for the 2023-24 license year,” said the Game Commission. “We consider them final and intend -- now and in the future -- to allow the science-based allocation developed by staff to move forward without requiring a vote from the Board of Commissioners.”
(Will the new season go OK under these new changes? ‘Follow’ here to track this.)