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A mule deer missing an antler.Image via Wikipedia

The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to a slate of deer seasons for the 2009-10 seasons that retains all of the opportunities provided in the past to address the goals of the agency’s deer management plan.  The only significant change was the Board’s vote to extend the late flintlock season for Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5C and 5D to run from Dec. 26 to Jan. 23.

Hunters in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B will again have a five-day, antlered deer only season starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, followed immediately by seven days of concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer hunting. The proposed package retains the two-week (12-day) concurrent, antlered and antlerless season in the remaining 18 WMUs.

On Monday, the Board received a presentation by the Bureau of Wildlife Management regarding the study that has begun to evaluate the impact of split seasons in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B on hunter success rates for future use as a new management tool.  (For more information on the study, please see “News Release #012-09 in the “News Release” section of the agency’s website – www.pgc.state.pa.us.)

Roe noted that, in 2008, the four WMUs chosen for this split season were because: WMUs 2G and 4B have ongoing deer research in them; WMU 2D is an area where antler restrictions are set at four points on one side, and is where the agency previously had deer research conducted; and WMU 3C is an area where antler restrictions are set at three points on one side, and is an area of the state where no extensive deer research has been conducted.

“Antlerless deer harvest versus number of days of opportunity, or the overall season length, will be evaluated, and we will conduct annual surveys of hunters to address other aspects of the program,” Roe said. “Stakeholders may be able to provide input by sharing whether they’d like more opportunity via time, such as two weeks or more, or more people involved through perhaps more tags and shorter seasons.”

The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) that addresses landowner deer management objectives within WMUs remains in place.  Hunters with DMAP antlerless deer permits may use them during any established deer season, and will continue to be permitted to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 30-Dec. 12 in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B.

“DMAP provides a tool to harvest antlerless deer on specific properties to lessen deer impacts for landowners and the habitat,” Roe said.  Fees for DMAP permits are $10 for residents and $35 for nonresidents.

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