It is considered Pennsylvania's only unofficial holiday. The Monday after Thanksgiving marks opening day of the two-week general deer season.
That's when 750,000 men, women and teenagers wearing fluorescent orange are expected to invade Penn's Woods, according to Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe.
“In addition to being a rich part of our state’s heritage, deer season is critical in managing Pennsylvania’s whitetails,” Roe said. “The efforts of hunters are far-reaching; they help to keep deer populations in check, and enable the agency to meet deer management goals that benefit those who reside, visit or travel through this state.”
Hunters must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined at all times while afield during the seasons. They also are advised that it’s illegal to hunt, chase or disturb deer within 150 yards of any occupied building without the occupant's permission if they are using a firearm, or 50 yards if they are using a bow or crossbow.
During the two-week season, hunters may use any legal sporting arm, as outlined on page 45 of the 2012-13 Digest. The game commission bans rifles in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware or Montgomery counties, however, shotguns and muzzleloaders are legal.
Share the Harvest
Hunters who are successful in the upcoming deer hunting seasons are encouraged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to consider participating in the state’s Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program, which channels donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens and needy families. Pennsylvania’s HSH program is recognized as one of the most successful among similar programs in about 40 states.
“Using a network of local volunteer area coordinators and cooperating meat processors to process and distribute venison donated by hunters, HSH has really helped to make a difference for countless needy families and individuals in our state,” said Roe. “Pennsylvanians who participate in this extremely beneficial program should be proud of the role they play. HSH truly does make a tremendous difference.”