2-week deer season approved, rifles banned from turkey hunts

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HARRIBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission has approved concurrent hunting for antlered and antlerless deer through the duration of the 2021-22 firearms deer season.

LNP newspaper reports that commission members acknowledged at their spring meeting Saturday that much of the feedback received since the two-week deer season was proposed in January was negative. But executive director Bryan Burhans said that during comment periods “we mainly hear from people who are opposed to things.” Officials said the commission’s 2020 deer hunter survey indicated that 52% of hunters who participated favored the idea.

Last year, 10 of the 23 wildlife management units in the state had two weeks of concurrent buck and doe hunting, while the other 13 had one week of buck-only hunting, followed by a week of concurrent hunting. Commissioner Mike Mittrick said hunters’ fears that a two-week season would mean too many does shot were unfounded.

Commissioners also made what they called a “difficult” vote to ban use of rifles for fall turkey hunting, citing a declining turkey population. They vowed to revisit the issue in a couple of years if data indicates the numbers are rebounding. Hunters can still use shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows or archery methods to hunt turkeys.

In other news, commissioners approved the use of digital licenses in place of standard paper licenses.

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