weekend hosts four awaited openers – the first day of the regular squirrel
hunting season, the opening day of the one-week muzzleloader season for
antlerless deer, and the first day of the seasons for ruffed grouse and
openers lead the way for the Oct. 26 opening day of a small-game season for
pheasants and cottontail rabbits, as well as the opening days for foxes and
other species. Several big-game seasons lie just beyond.
of this means hunters will become a more common sight throughout the
Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds hunters that hunting with a firearm is not
permitted within 150 yards of any occupied structure, school, farm building or
playground unless prior permission is obtained from the building’s occupants or
property owner. This perimeter is known as a “safety zone,” and possessing a
loaded sporting arm within a safety zone is considered hunting and a violation
of the law. Trapping furbearers, and chasing or disturbing wildlife also are
prohibited within a safety zone, unless permission is given.
similar law applies to hunters using bows or crossbows, but the safety-zone
perimeter is smaller. Archers and hunters using crossbows must remain at least
50 yards from any occupied structure, school, farm building or playground
unless they receive permission from the building occupants or property owners
to hunt at closer distances.
also are reminded that the fluorescent orange requirements vary depending on the
species being hunted. Illustrations depicting the requirements that apply in
different seasons can be found in the 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting &
Trapping Digest issued to hunters at the time they purchase hunting
licenses. The digest also is available online at the Game Commission’s website,
hunter taking part in the upcoming early muzzleloader season for antlerless
deer needs to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the
head, chest and back, combined. The orange each hunter wears must be visible
from all directions (360 degrees) and must be worn at all times while hunting.
This requirement applies to hunters who participate simultaneously in the
muzzleloader and archery deer seasons.
the one-week early muzzleloader season, properly licensed hunters are permitted
to carry both a muzzleloader and a bow or crossbow. A hunter would need both
archery and muzzleloader stamps, plus a general hunting and an appropriate
antlerless deer license or Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permit.
hunters who are taking part strictly in the archery season are required during
the early muzzleloader overlap to wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange
while moving, they are permitted to remove their orange once settled into a
stationary position. Archery hunters who remove orange clothing are required to
post 100 square inches of orange within 15 feet of their locations, and the
posted orange must be visible from all directions.
hunters who are simultaneously participating in the early muzzleloader season,
however, must follow the orange requirements for early muzzleloader.
participate in the early muzzleloader season, a hunter must have a valid Pennsylvania
general hunting license, a muzzleloader stamp and valid antlerless deer license
or DMAP permit.
deer licenses in Pennsylvania are valid only within the Wildlife Management
Unit (WMU) they are issued. Likewise, DMAP permits are issued for certain
properties and are valid only on those properties. Maps showing the locations
of WMUs are available in the Hunting & Trapping Digest.
during the early season may use in-line, percussion and flintlock
muzzleloaders, and sporting arms may be equipped with scopes, peep-sights and
other lawful sighting devices.
one-week early muzzleloader season includes a three-day overlap with a special
firearms season for antlerless deer.
that season, which runs from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26, junior hunters (ages 12 to
16), senior hunters (ages 65 and older), mentored youth (hunters who are
younger than 12, but who obtain a permit to hunt), hunters who are on active
military duty, and certain disabled hunters are able to use a variety of
sporting arms to harvest antlerless deer.
sporting arms include manually operated centerfire rifles, handguns and
shotguns; .44-caliber or larger muzzleloading long guns; .50-caliber or larger
muzzleloading handguns; long, recurve or compound bows; and crossbows.
take part in the special firearms season, hunters must meet participation
qualifications and possess a general hunting license and valid antlerless deer
license or DMAP permit. Hunters also must wear a minimum of 250 square inches
of fluorescent orange at all times.
mentored youth hunter taking part in the special firearms season must possess a
valid mentored youth permit, and the mentor who accompanies a mentored youth
afield must possess a valid antlerless deer license or DMAP permit. The antlerless
deer license or DMAP permit can be transferred to the mentored youth upon the
mentored youth’s harvest, and each mentored youth hunter may receive only one
antlerless deer license and one DMAP permit by transfer during a license
a more detailed look at the regulations pertaining to these and other seasons,
or to view hunting season start and end dates, as well as bag limits, visit to
the Game Commission’s website. There’s a lot of hunting in store.
is always a special time in Pennsylvania, and an absolutely beautiful time to
spend outdoors,” said Carl Roe, the Game Commission’s executive director. “And
there’s no better way to spend a fair-weather fall day than by enjoying a great
day of hunting.
little is guaranteed on any hunt, it’s always a good bet that good times await
afield and are there for the taking each fall,” Roe said.
hunting in October often offers pleasant days afield, the warm weather also
presents challenges for successful deer hunters in assuring harvests result in
in warm weather, harvested deer should be field dressed quickly, then taken
from the field and cooled down as soon as possible. While hanging a deer
carcass in a shady area might be fine in cooler temperatures, if the air
temperature is above 50 degrees, hunters should refrigerate the carcass as soon
on warm-weather venison care, as well as instructions on deer processing and
other tips, are available on the white-tailed deer page on the Game
Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.
are required to report deer harvests, and they are encouraged to do so soon
after their successful hunts, so they don’t forget.
are three ways to report harvests. Harvests can be reported online at the Game
Commission’s website by clicking on the “Report a Harvest” button on the
homepage. Reports also can be phoned in to 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681), or
mailed in using the harvest report cards that are inserted in the Pennsylvania
Hunting & Trapping Digest hunters receive when they purchase a license.
who call should have their hunting license numbers handy, as well as additional
information that’s required to be reported.
participating in the early muzzleloader season to begin Saturday or the special
firearms season to begin Oct. 24 may harvest antlerless deer only.
hunter in any season who, by accident or mistake, kills an illegal deer is
required to deliver the carcass – entrails removed – within 24 hours to any
Game Commission officer in the county where the deer was killed.
written statement must be provided to the officer, explaining when, where and
how the accident or mistake occurred. The deer must be tagged with the
appropriate deer harvest tag.
it has traditionally, the two-week firearms season for deer will open statewide
on the Monday following Thanksgiving.
statewide season this year runs from Dec. 2 to Dec. 14. Hunters in different
parts of the state are required to observe different rules regarding the number
of points an antlered deer must have and when during the season hunters may
harvest an antlerless deer. Information
is available at the Game Commission’s website.