A record-setting year in the Keystone state
PITTSBURGH – With what appears to be the largest deer herd of the century waiting, Pennsylvania hunters should have seen plenty of whitetails, particularly in agricultural and suburban areas, when the buck season opened on Nov. 29. Prior to the start of the archery season, Game Commission biologists estimated the statewide deer population at more than 1.4 million, making it the largest since the agency began keeping records early this century.
Deer biologist Bret Wallingford is forecasting a harvest of about 199,000 bucks, which means one out of four of the approximately 800,000 hunters who will be in the field on opening day can expect to take home a deer. However, he added, if the weather turns bad, the buck harvest could drop to 180,000. On the other hand, favorable weather conditions could push the harvest up to 220,000.
Last year, buck hunters recorded the second largest harvest ever, 181,449. Excluding special regulation counties, the buck population at the time numbered about 222,000. This year, biologists project a statewide buck population, excluding special regulation counties, of roughly 246,000. Pennsylvania’s largest buck harvest, 182,235, occurred in 1995.
Editorial Note: By way of comparison, Nevada’s statewide mule deer population is estimated to only be approximately 160,000 animals.
Pennsylvania hunters will harvest more bucks than Nevada has total deer!