GAME COMMISSION RELEASES DEER HARVEST ESTIMATES
Harvests decreased statewide in 2014-15, report shows.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission today reported that, in the state’s 2014-15 seasons, hunters harvested an estimated 303,973 deer – a decrease of about 14 percent compared to the 2013-14 harvest of 352,920. Hunters took 119,260 antlered deer in the 2014-15 seasons – a decrease of about 11 percent compared to the previous license year, when an estimated 134,280 bucks were taken. Also, hunters harvested an estimated 184,713 antlerless deer in 2014-15, which represents an about 16 percent decrease compared to the 218,640 antlerless deer taken in 2013-14.
“We put these numbers out each year and, whether there’s an increase or decrease in the harvest, people want to know why,” said Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough. “While it’s impossible to provide explanations with certainty, there were a couple of factors over the 2014-15 deer seasons that seem to have contributed to a decreased harvest.”
Some of the decrease is by design, Hough said. The Game Commission last year reduced the number of antlerless licenses available for sale. Fewer licenses were allocated in nearly every Wildlife Management Unit, and statewide, 59,500 fewer antlerless licenses were issued.
Reducing the allocation within a Wildlife Management Unit allows deer numbers to grow there. Records show it takes an allocation of about four antlerless licenses to harvest one antlerless deer, so a reduced antlerless harvest was anticipated due to a reduced allocation.
Additionally, the weather during the two-week firearms deer season was less than ideal in much of the state. Some parts of the state saw unusually high temperatures on the season’s opening day. And depending on where you hunted, conditions on the first Saturday might have included steady rain, snow or dense fog.