PA Deer Mismanagement
Below for everyone's
reading I have copied several of the feedbacks I have gotten.
I have removed the individual’s names and email addresses
for their privacy. These email's are in their
I applaud you for
your efforts. This was a very disappointing year for me in
PA, and even in the urban zones I am seeing very few deer.
I fear that someday my son will talk about Deer the way I
now talk about Pheasant and Grouse. I would like to join your
organization, but I am interested in learning more about what
is being done to have your voice heard by the lawmakers. I
think more info on your site with regards to the tangible
actions that are being taken will help your membership efforts.
I am going to try to help awareness all I can. I am fed up
with the BS the PGC is feeding everyone.
I live near Scenery Hill, Pa and hunted for a week in archery
and 4 days rifle, I heard very little and seen less hunters
then before. I talked to the local butchers and they said
it was an all time low for them as well. I seen very small
deer when I seen any at all, I don't think the weather had
as much of the impact as the game commission will tell us,
they need to stop or greatly limit the doe licenses. This
was an all time low of deer sighting for me and my family,
even when I cut my fields this summer I didn't see as many
and all the surrounding farmers said the same. We better watch
or we will be paying for deer hunts on private land, because
the deer are going downhill, maybe some areas are good but
most are really bad. I have joined your club for a three year
tour, I like that you are the ones fighting to protect this.
This was an email
that was started by one individual and received the replies
I got a shock yesterday
morning when I drove the half hour from my home to the top
of Barclay Mountain to hunt with my son. Mind you, this is
all through game lands. I only saw 5 vehicles parked along
the road before I reached the Mt. top and the game lands road
where we wanted to hunt.
After reaching the game lands road to the area we planned
to hunt (Long Valley Road) it's maybe 1 1/2 - 2 miles to the
gate at the end. There is usually 20 vehicles or so parked
along this stretch, even on the first Saturday, especially
with the doe opener for this WMU (3B).
To my complete surprise ....there were only 3 vehicles on
this whole stretch of game lands road.
No shooting at all.
I had friends who hunted there the first day of Buck, and
they said the shooting was very light, compared to past years,
and deer sign was minimal at best… On the first day my son
was in a different area of the Mt. on a different game lands
road, and said the number of vehicles was minimal compared
to past years.
I can only conclude that the hunters are totally fed up with
the deer situation on game lands, and are just giving up
But, I'm betting that the PGC will report a remarkably high
"estimated harvest" again this year.
I'll probably head back upstate on Wednesday and take the
rifle for a walk in the woods for 3 or 4 more days.
Yes, that seems to be the situation. The old-timers are giving
up. And, there are not enough young hunters to fill the void.
The hunters just are not out in the woods. I talked to my
neighbor up in Tioga County last night. He said that there
were only 2 shots heard all day on Saturday. He did not see
any other hunters. The usual spots along pipeline where hunters
park their ATV's were empty. And, that's with buck, doe, and
bear all open in WMU-3A. For Monday thru Saturday, I know
of only one buck, one doe, and a bear cub being taken near
my place. It isn't good!!
Here's the score. There were 14 of us in camp, 4 guys saw
a flicker of a tail, 10 of us including me saw nothing! On
Monday I saw one other hunter coming out of the woods, one
of the guys from my camp. I was out to Cash Pond, saw 3 hunters,
one from my camp, heard a couple of shots far off. I was also
near the grave yard and out near the stone pillars, saw no
hunters in the woods and only a couple on the road. The guys
I saw all said the same thing, didn't see a deer. We got fed
up and left camp Wednesday morning; we had planned to stay
through Friday but just got disgusted. I guess the PGC will
say we left because we were afraid of getting trampled by
all the deer! This year is the worst I have ever seen and
I've been on the Barclay since 1966
I just have a few
questions if the game commission states that they understand
the low deer numbers by stopping hunting for the first week,
then why didn't they cut back on doe licenses? I live in 2A
region and while you go to certain portions of Green County
you trip over deer, and certain parts of Washington County
you will be lucky to see 3 all season. This proves the management
methods needs restructured for deer hunting. You might say
low hunting pressure but all the people I have talked too
states the reason they stopped hunting in because of low deer
numbers, they simply say, I am not going out to see nothing
again, it’s not worth getting cold for, even if you see a
doe and don't shoot it is fun seeing them and a rush. The
game commission also states it’s because of posted land, well
again from a person that owns land; they post to save the
deer and not let the land open for the hunters to wipe out
the deer herd like scenery hill area. This year after all
the surrounding farmers and myself cut their fields for hay,
I went out almost 30 times in the evening and noticed very
little deer, I could over look land about 400 to 500 acres
surrounded by woods with only seeing 4 to 5 deer, that is
bad with all the soybean fields you would think a lot more.
I really don't understand how they are getting a proper count
most people can’t afford to have the deer processed so they
do it on their own, and you would think people are honest
and report a harvest but be real about 1/3 probably don't.
I have great concerns over hunting in Pa, we are heading down
a bad road, deer hunting is pretty much all we have, with
all the predators we have no or very limited small game and
a total collapse of management for them, someone needs to
re-look at the hiring of current biologist and see if they
warrant everybody's interest, I don't want to mix things up
too much but it seems like dollars instead of management.
I hunted all archery when I could and the first three day
of rifle and Saturdays and only seen two small bucks and 4
does and my wife only seen one doe, my son 1 buck so, the
weather, I don't buy it anymore. Please feel free to use this
material, but leave my title out of it and my name, I really
don't want any repercussion from the wardens.
This is a letter
sent from my brother concerning the d-map area in the Seven
Mountains where we have a camp. And as you can see it went
to deaf ears, boy that was a master piece the best article
written ever concerning d map too bad he didn't get a good
Subject: D-map area
I have been hunting and visiting this area for the better
part of 35 years. I grew up hunting this area and enjoyed
seeing the deer and turkey that were abundant in the area.
For the past several years I have noticed a dramatic decrease
in the number of deer present in the area. There was a time
when you could see 10/15 deer during the 1st couple days of
deer season but now you are very fortunate to even see a single
deer the entire week. I agree that there was a time when there
were too many deer for the habitat to sustain but that is
not the case now. The first week of the season this year saw
more hunters in this area than I have seen in many years,
many of them were unfamiliar with the area and carrying a
nice new DMAP tag, looking to kill the last remaining doe
left. It is very unfortunate that these people gave their
money to the Dept. of Forestry expecting to at least see a
deer with the hopes of harvesting one.
Boy, were they misled. Who makes the determination that there
are too many deer in an area that it would be designated a
DMAP area? These individuals obviously do not spend much time
in the woods away from the comfort of the state vehicle to
make an accurate assumption. At what point does the PGC or
Dept. of Forestry understand that the deer herd in the area
has all but been eliminated and the issuance of D-MAP tags
needs to end? I had spent time hunting turkey, bear and deer
in the area and still have not seen a single deer. And I've
covered a lot of ridge tops in the process. I am not trying
to indicate that there isn't a single deer in the area because
I have seen some nice buck harvested in the past, I also was
fortunate enough to harvest some nice deer, but the herd has
definitely been reduced too far. I don't expect to see 20
deer a day but I do think that an entire day or days spent
afield should produce at least a sighting of a few deer. To
make the situation worse, it is very disturbing to see a truck
load of barely legal Amish men and young boys conducting drives
and shooting anything that comes out. There are generally
enough juniors along to tag the illegal buck that someone
else shot to get away with it. Thank you for your time and
I truly hope that the herd is re-established to the point
where I can take my children out hunting and see some deer.
The future of the sport depends on the younger generation
of hunters, and the current conditions will not hold their
interest very long.
Individuals name withheld
The D-map program is designed to allow landowners to control
deer on the properties to meet their individual needs. While
we all understand when farmers use D-map to control deer to
protect crops, it is more difficult to understand when foresters
do the same thing. For foresters the difference is their crop
takes decades to grow rather than a single year.
The Board recently
made changes to restrict the damp program. Now each landowner,
including public landowners like state forests, must provide
a deer management plan that is approved by the PGC. In a place
like you are hunting, the state forests may need a reduction
in deer for a decade or more to allow new oaks and cherries
to get a solid start. If these trees don't regenerate, the
forest will not only produce less desirable trees like maples
and birch but these trees provide little or food for wildlife.
It is difficult
to tell a landowner they cannot do what they want with their
own land. My suggestion is to contact the DCNR about their
use of damp in a particular area.
Commissioners Name withheld
Thanks for the reply. In short, the Forestry Dept. or DCNR
says that there are too many deer in a particular area and
the numbers need to be reduced in order to re-establish the
habitat, hence the need for all the deer enclosures around
the timber harvests areas. What agency conducts the deer count
and who would verify that the counts are relatively accurate?
Is this the responsibility of the PGC or Dept. of Forestry?
Individual name withheld
I have not had a reply back yet to my last message.
This was also an
email between an individual and one of our commissioners:
And his blind response. They just don't get the big picture
Well I for one, and I think I can speak for many, honestly
get tired of not seeing a deer when I go to the mountains.
I have been turkey, bear, and deer hunting this year and can
count on one hand the amount of deer seen in the woods. And
then to have these what I call" city hunters" stopping
to ask if this is a D-map area, looking to kill the last doe
in our area, frankly pisses us off....... Many of the camps
in our area have an unwritten agreement, don't shoot doe.
This is the only way to bring back the population. I have
been hunting in this area for 20 yrs and can remember the
days of going for a walk and seeing 2-3 deer taking the kids
out and showing them a deer. Try it now.
I'm not asking to see 20 I’d be happy with 5 but at the rate
the game commission is going, my children will no longer want
to hunt, and the deer population in these D-map areas will
be nonexistent. Again take me and show me 7 deer in a day,
I’ll even buy you lunch if you can.
Thanks, (name withheld)
I appreciate you taking the time to write.
The current deer
program is based on mistakes of the past when hunters saw
20-50 deer in a day. While that made for exciting hunting
it was not realistic.
Across most of Pennsylvania we did not have the habitat to
support that many deer. Eventually, the whole system would
have crashed leaving us with habitat that could not recover.
Our current program
is designed to make certain there is adequate habitat to support
deer and deer hunting in the future. Yes, it means a sacrifice
now, but it will insure there are better habitat and more
deer in the future.
I want a forest
that will hold deer for our grandchildren and am willing to
sacrifice my hunting today to get it. It bothers me that some
hunters are willing to ignore the future to get what they
You mention posted
property. Posted property is a problem that is out of the
PGC control. Fifty years ago when there was very little posted
property, it was much easier to hunt deer and be successful.
Now as soon as the season starts and the pressure is on, deer
head to the areas where they are not pressured- posted property.
That changes the whole face of deer hunting, but is completely
out of the PGC control.
Thank you for your
Here in western
Clinton County as most of wmu2g, we have very few doe left.
I and our family are leaving what doe we have left go. This
is first year in my life that I have not seen doe first week
The second week I saw 3, this second week in comes the Philly
hunters. They are after doe, to my shock all of these 5 hunters
already got 2 doe, then they shot 2 of my doe in my area with
2g doe tag, this is not right. Then come back and use their
buck tag to kill a doe in my area again in late muzzle loader
season. Unreal we even have any deer left here in wmu2g, then
throw in DMAP TAGS too and get another doe.
THIS IS JUST WRONG.
We need doe hunting to be 2 days in Clinton county and only
county doe tags. I could go on but that is latest thing that
has my blood boiling mad.
3A is still two weeks of killing the does. We saw a couple
of doe's 2 illegal bucks and no doe hunting signs are starting
to go up. My wife just started hunting 5 years ago and is
quite disgusted with it. You feel guilty if you shoot a doe
anymore, and rarely see a legal buck. I don't know what the
game commission is try to prove anymore. Mr. Mohr knew what
was going on. More and more hunters are going to give it up.
I'm thinking of it and going out of state.
What has this become???
I feel the need
to comment on the efforts to obtain good deer management in
PA, that you are presently involved in with the Allegheny
County Sportsmen's League. I am an avid hunter and have been
since 1966. I have hunted in many states for a variety of
animals but mostly deer. I personally am not a hunter who
parks my vehicle in the same area, year after year, hunts
out of the same stand nor do I stay within a quarter mile
of my vehicle. I hunt in other areas of western and central
PA and feel like a competent witness (even if not possessing
the "scientific" credentials) to say that I agree
with the hue and cry that "we don't have the deer, anymore",
position. I am presently active in the Clarion County Federation
of Sportsmen (soon to not be affiliated with The PFSC statewide
organization) as a delegate from my local club. I am aware
of deer management programs in other states as well as our
so-called program under the PGC. While the feedback that I
have received from my own club, other clubs, other hunters
and from the statewide PFSC (please don't consider my statements
as an official position of them or our local clubs) is certainly
in agreement with smaller deer populations, all opinions are
not necessarily based on good science. Most of the people
I have talked to want a new program as I do.
However, I wish
to quote an unnamed source who is a warden with DOW in Colorado
(Dept. of Wildlife) who said the following when he was talking
with us on this subject. "We in Colorado game management
and regulation have for years, as other states have, looked
to PA programs as ones to emulate. Now everything we hear
is that PA has become a laughing stock of management programs."
He went on to say that while "looking at other ways to
come up with scientific, honest and non-self serving programs
to manage deer populations is important, that allowing the
solution to be turned over to a bureaucratic and politically
motivated entity like state government (not all legislators,
of course) would and as the case with Colo. have bad consequences
on having your programs run by politicians".
In other words he
said; "If you think your program is bad now, watch out
if you let it slip away to the legislature". I realize
that this is only one man's opinion but the thought has merit
and I hope this has already become a concern as you move forward
in your efforts for better deer management.
These are just
a few of the complaints we at USP have been listening too
over the last several years. When you read them,
you see the replies from the commissioner, just an example
of them not taking the sportsmen issues seriously.
I will keep adding them on as the come in. I feel
everyone should have a chance to read them not just me.
I have just watched
Mr. Santucci’s interview on “Ted Nugent-Spirit of the Wild”.
I can’t agree more! I am 43 years old and have been hunting
since I am 12. The last 7 or 8 years have been pitiful. I
grew up in Berks county and had lived in Centre county for
nearly 15 years, returned to Berks a few years ago. I have
hunted in both areas and even Tioga, Potter, Clinton, Clearfield
and Schuykill counties. Public hunting lands, in many areas,
do not even show signs of deer. When I was growing up it was
common to see deer herds of 20 + deer. Now if you see 20 in
a season your doing well. I tell my 2 sons stories of deer
hunting and hope that they don't lose interest. My oldest
son, who is now 21, scored with a 6 and 4 point buck when
he was 12 and then 13 and hasn't seen buck while hunting since.
I have 5 acres of property in farm country surrounded by posted
land, now we primarily archery hunt at home because we stand
a better chance than going to the SGL's. I have begun to make
annual trips to Ohio. Ohio hunting is incredible compared
to my home state of PA. I know as an organization you are
trying to get the Game commission into management instead
of selling licenses, I commend you for that. What can we do
as private citizens to get our lawmakers to understand that
what the Game Commission and current game policies are doing
is destroying deer hunting and our hunting heritage? The policies
have extended beyond even deer hunting-try to find a pheasant
that hasn't been stocked an hour before. There are many reasons
for the overall poor hunting in PA, predators, farming practices,
urban sprawl and so on but the losing interest in deer hunting
adds to this because there are less people interested in predator
hunting and trapping. Turkeys and bear have seemed to thrive
lately but if you think about it, the seasons and bag limits
have basically remained the same during my hunting life. I
have written my local representatives and I hope that others
do also. I am considering joining your organization, and hopefully
numbers speaking to Harrisburg will get their attention.
I have been, for
years looking for some organization that supports what I support
in the subject of deer management in PA. I have written many,
many letters and emails to the PGC on my own opposing strongly
their decimation of our deer herd and the policies that lead
to that decimation. I have also done the same opposing, again
STRONGLY, the antler restrictions and associated policies
and direction of the PGC. My opposition has been on many fronts.
Scientifically, it is evident that antler restrictions do
not result in what the goals of the PGC stated. As a matter
of fact, I believe there are more "spike" bucks
than ever before. I have my theories on why that is the case,
but they are too detailed for an email writing. My primary
opposition beyond the scientific reasons was twofold...first
I believe that the intent of the antler restrictions was misguided,
particularly in PA. PA hunting is about tradition, family,
the hunt and most importantly, the non-hunt part of the hunt.
That sounds stupid, but I will explain that later. The idea
of "trophy" hunting and formulating deer herds for
trophy hunting is exactly what deer hunting in PA is NOT about.
Secondly, deer hunting in PA is about the youth and passing
along the strong hunting traditions in families and among
friends. Trophy hunting sends the wrong message. Most importantly,
I agree with you 100% in your take on the youth interest in
hunting and its relationship to the disseminated deer herd.
My son just turned 12 last November. I've been waiting for
that day all my life....to take my son hunting. I can tell
you that his enthusiasm for hunting has waned in the years
leading up to this season. I've been "grooming"
him for years for his hunting career and hoping with all my
heart that he has the love of the outdoors and hunting heritage
that I have. He does....but again, his enthusiasm for going
to the woods is at best limited. This is due solely to the
idea of not seeing deer in just about every outing. We saw
1 deer on the first day of buck season this year....all in
a pouring, cold rain. We held out, because that is what we
do, but to say he was / is discouraged, is an understatement.
Please note, this is not the first year I've taken him into
the woods. He has accompanied me on many outings....all with
the same result....no deer!!!!! I could care less if I ever
kill another deer to be honest....I've killed plenty in my
life. However, the continuation of hunting in PA is dependant
on our youth....like my son and I can tell you that the interest
from that group is declining and fast!!! We (as a group) have
already lost two of my best friends son's due to lack of interest....they
would rather sit at home and play video games than and I quote...."sit
in the woods and freeze and not see anything"....sad
state of affairs, as you well know.
Sorry about the long email, but with all that said, I was
just ready to click the submit order to join USP when I thought
to peruse the website a bit more, where I found your on-line
newsletters. With all that I agree with you on the deer management
of PA and that it must change, I cannot and will not support
a group that supports Sunday hunting. This goes back to what
PA hunting is all about.....tradition. This is where the non-hunt
part of the hunt comes in. We love to be in the woods, we
love the hunt. However, Sundays are the best part of the weekend
trips to our cabin. Sundays are reserved as rest days, shooting
days, reminiscing days. After a good Saturday hunt, we as
a family take Sundays to enjoy the hunt. I cannot in all my
heart see starting a deer season on Sunday...that day is for
walking the woods to find a spot, sighting in guns, meeting
with friends from other camps, etc., etc. Yes, you can say..."don't
participate", but that is disingenuous....please see
your name..."United". I would hate to tell my son
that we are preserving our traditions when the woods are full
of hunters.....maybe taking opportunities we would have if
we were in the woods.
Sorry, but as much as I agree with your position on PA's deer
management and hope you continue to fight the fight, I can't
be a member of an organization that touts the tradition of
the hunt, but then supports taking away some traditions.
I'm 64 yrs. old and
I'm a resident of Sinnemahoning, Pa., a small north central
community in the heart of the Pa Wilds. For ten years now,
I've watched our deer hunting in this area go from the envy
of the country to this year, the worst in its history. Hunters
that used to stay a week in camp now leave in less than a
day and a half, and do more road hunting than ever before.
This area no longer supports a viable hunting population of
deer, and won't in my lifetime, but DOES maintain a thriving
Elk population in an area designated by the PGC as "deer
poor habitat". The local WCO recently told me he counted
55 head in one field adjacent to our house, and this is a
common occurrence thru-out the area. If I saw that many deer
anywhere here, you would not be receiving this communication.
What the PGC has done is beyond incompetent and irresponsible,
its criminal. and they should be held accountable. Which brings
me to the purpose of writing this:.
You speak of a Sportsmens alliance with 120 clubs and 200,000
members, but what good are the numbers if not mobilized to
act? What do I mean by this? As an individual, I've e-mailed
and phoned the PGC, my legislators, etc., until I'm blue in
the face, but its nothing more than ""spitting in
the wind". For ten years, they have placated, threatened
to form committees, set-up an "A Governors Advisory Council"[
a disguise for doing nothing and a farce], and so on, yet
nothing has changed. Mobilizing 200,000 members to do this
would have an impact unlike anything they have ever seen before.
As an organization, you can tell them [legislators, governor,
etc.,] that you represent this number, but unless they actually
hear from them individually, it means NOTHING. Almost every
Sportsmen's group I know of now has e- mail addresses for
all their members, and could easily send out survey requests
to be completed/returned [batched] and then delivered to the
appropriate party's. Liaisons from your organization and others
could/should also be visiting all of the clubs in the North
Central region and beyond in an effort to encourage/galvanate
and promote the real sportsmen's issues rather than the clubs
focus on their bottom line [money].
Just my thoughts for what its worth!
Thanks for listening, Name withheld
You may publish
the attached e-mail if you wish. I originally sent it out
to my family and fellow deer hunters. Hopefully you and your
organization can get the serious deer hunters in Pa. to quit
doing the Game Commission's dirty work for them. Everyone
should get as many doe permits as they can but not use them.
I really don't understand this overzealous hunting and killing
of the does. Surely that many people don't need the meat to
get through the winter.
Doe season should
be separate from all other deer seasons and only run one to
three days - to be determined each year , and the number of
doe permits closely regulated/monitored. It should be mandatory
to report a deer kill/harvest to the Game Commission. No more
estimates on deer harvested.
Well it looks like
Sunday hunting in falling short again, from what I've read
it won’t make the house. It appears that the farmers Assoc.
is holding it back, I can’t understand they make up only 1/3
of the vote and yet they determine the outcome for all, its
not a bias opinion at all, if you farm you farm everyday,
and Sunday is no different and if Sunday is a day of rest,
well then you are a hobby farmer to say the least. Another
thing is that the Game commission is saying the deer harvest
are low because the hunters are low, and that's a bunch of
crap, hunters stopped because of no deer in areas and yet
based on what I've discovered they will give the same doe
tags again this year with the same season. Deeply concerned
with the hunting future in PA!!! please withhold my name and
Thanks, Name withheld
Thought I would provide what I have seen hunting in Clinton
County and reasons for lack of deer here. Will
make it to point. Here we go.
No order in any of this, week of inline Oct doe, week of doe
in gun season, crossbows allowing more doe to be killed in
archery, DMAP tags, excessive doe tags over years hunters
shooting any doe now including fawns, coyotes, large WMU's
allowing hunters to hunt in many counties increasing more
doe killed left by locals
Here is other things that make you mad.
Mentoured youth, daddys shooting bucks for kids at 4 years
old and up at cost of 3 dollars for tag poaching ,no WCO in
western clinton county crews [adults] shooting bucks without
looking at horns as long as kid is in crew, kid tags the buck
via radio. Road hunting in dark of
mornings in archery, shoot the deer, come back later and stick
arrow in hole. Hunters getting doe tags
in other WMU's, getting 2 doe there THEN come to clinton county
and kill another doe with 2g tag.
After never missing
a first day of deer season for forty six years, and a result
of never seeing a deer in three years. This sixty year old
has given up. I believe we have to make the best of a bad
situation. The reduction of the deer herd and the number of
hunters has been such an overwhelming success, now is time
to reap the rewards. I would like to propose a fifty percent
reduction in game commissioners. Since our main season has
always been deer, when the deer herd is reduced by two thirds,
I cannot imagine why we need as many game commissioners. I
would like to propose one Game Warden per county. In counties
where we have been a great success like Jefferson and Forest
counties I would think one officer would be able to watch
the few deer that remain in both counties. I suspect that
Governor Rendell had increased political jobs while the deer
slaughter was progressing. Now is time to lay off every game
warden hired in the last ten years. I am still not happy but
this would make me feel better knowing we not wasting money
on game wardens that have no deer. Things will look brighter