Deer Hunters Take 2 Percent More Whitetail in 2023-24

HARRISBURG – TribLive is reporting… No matter how you look at it, 400,000 is a lot of deer and Pennsylvania hunters have harvested at least than many in each of the past two years.


According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, deer hunters took 430,010 whitetails during the most recent season, up 2% from 2022-23, when 422,960 deer were taken. It’s the first time that sportsmen have harvested more than 400,000-plus deer in consecutive years since 2003 and 2004, when they took 464,890 and 409,320, respectively.


The PGC reports that 171,600 antlered deer were taken in 2023-24, a 5% increase over the 164,190 taken the previous year, while an estimated 258,410 antlerless deer were harvested, almost identical to the 258,770 taken in 2022-23. The majority of deer, 254,710, were killed by firearms hunters.


In regard to antlerless deer licenses, last year was the first time the PGC sold them via its online licensing system, with hunters allowed to purchase one license each during each of the first three rounds of sales. Then, during the fourth round, they were able to purchase any remaining licenses in the state’s various WMUs until they reached a personal limit of six.


When it comes to the deer harvest, it’s also worth noting that the statewide archery total of 154,850 whitetails contributed to just over a third of the total deer harvest. In 2023-24, WMU 2B in the Pittsburgh area was tops.


The PGC said deer harvest estimates are calculated using antlered and antlerless harvest reports from hunters combined with data from deer checked by crews at processors across the state to estimate reporting rates.


“Last year, 31 teams of trained deer agers visited more than 400 processors across the Commonwealth during the statewide firearms season to collect data, age deer based on tooth replacement and wear, and record information from harvest tags,” Stainbrook said. “They examined more than 24,000 whitetails.”


The PGC noted hunters also reported more than 134,000 deer, most often using the agency’s online reporting system. That accounted for 74% of all deer reports received, while 18% of deer harvest reports came via report cards and 8% were made by phone.

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