Deer Hunting is embedded deeply in Pennsylvanian culture.
When it comes to hunting in the Northeast, you’d be hard pressed to find a state with as much rich hunting tradition and modern day popularity as Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has over 950,000 licensed hunters many of which treat the opening day of deer hunting Pennsylvania like a holiday. Schools close for the entire “buck week.” Nonresidents still flock to many of their traditional deer camps to connect in laughter, good food—and of course deer hunting.
With over 4.5 million acres of public land, Pennsylvania offers plenty of different settings to hunt. From the big woods of the Allegheny National Forest in the northwest to the suburbs of Philadelphia and all the farmland in between, you have plenty of options for deer hunting Pennsylvania.
Opportunities abound throughout state for deer hunting.
The highest deer population and longest seasons are in the suburban hunting areas of the state just outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburg. Some state game lands are open to public hunting in these areas. Your best chances, however, will come from obtaining permission to hunt private land. The toughest part of this is finding land to hunt. If you succeed in accessing private land, the opportunities are endless for suburban deer hunting in Pennsylvania. The state even expanded the doe harvest for deer management zones this year.
Several years ago, Pennsylvania began to implement antler point restrictions throughout the state. They vary between three and four-point minimum restrictions on bucks. These restrictions have begun to increase the age of bucks harvested.
In turn, Pennsylvania is slowly increasing its trophy buck harvest and really coming on strong as a great deer hunting state. The only downside to deer hunting in Pennsylvania is the amount of pressure it gets. There are over 750,000 licensed deer hunters in the state each year. And if you’ve ever hunted the opening day of rifle season, you’d swear every single one of them and their grandmothers came out for it.
Licenses for Deer Hunting in Pennsylvania
Licenses and regulations are simple for deer hunting in Pennsylvania. Residents pay $20.90 for a general hunting license that allows you to hunt the regular gun season; nonresidents pay $101.90. You can purchase an archery license for $16.50 or $26.50, respectively. A muzzleloader license costs $11.90 and $21.90, respectively. Most antlerless permits are mail-in applications that need to be in before July. Some units can be purchased over-the-counter.
Some units have an early archery season that opens around the middle of September. The rest of the state opens October 1. From there, they end right about the second or third week of November and start up again after Christmas. The regular deer season opens up every year the Monday after Thanksgiving and goes for about two weeks. There is also a late flintlock season, as well as an antlerless muzzleloader season in October. Depending on where you’re hunting, there are a few other antlerless seasons.
Deer camps still litter Pennsylvania woods. Every bar around is full of people swapping deer stories. Opportunities for youth hunters are plentiful. Potential for big bucks grows each year. If you get a chance to go deer hunting in Pennsylvania, you’ll see just how strong of a hunting culture Pennsylvania has despite declining license numbers.
Last modified: December 19, 2018