The regular gun deer season closes tomorrow, and while several late-season deer hunting opportunities are available, many sportsmen will turn their attention back to hunting small game in Pennsylvania’s fields and woods.
There are still several unfilled deer tags in our family, and while I’m sure we’ll be out for a few days where the bow or shotgun will be taken out into the field looking for another deer, our main focus will be taking the dogs out for rabbits. . and pheasants.
Just in time for family members to head home for vacations from college or distant jobs, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is stocking the last of this year’s pheasants for holiday enjoyment.
Three Late Season Stockings will occur throughout the Christmas season: Christmas Season, Late Season 1, and Late Season 2. Every county in our area will receive birds during each of the stockings.
All State Game Lands will receive some Pheasants. Additionally, Raccoon Creek State Park, Moraine State Park, Hillman State Park and Cross Creek County Park will also welcome birds. This year, the number of birds planted is impressive.
During the holiday season restocking on December 22-23, Beaver County will receive 220 free-range chickens and 80 hens at four locations. The 1st late stocking of the season on December 28-29 will see 200 ringnecks and 70 released hens. A total of 190 pheasants, 130 ringnecks and 60 chickens will be stocked on the final dates of January 5 and 6.
Washington County will receive 1,930 pheasants, while Butler County will receive 850 and Lawrence County, 440. Even the only lonely hunting ground in Allegheny County is receiving 390 birds in all three medians.
The last seasons for pheasant, rabbit, squirrel and grouse will open on Monday December 13th and continue until December 24th. After Christmas, on December 27, the pheasant, rabbit and squirrel will reopen until February 28.
There are many small game opportunities available during the holidays.
Remember, if you haven’t purchased a pheasant stamp, you will need one to hunt or capture pheasants. Otherwise, there are no license requirements other than the Small Game General License.
While it is always best to hunt small game with a dog, squirrels being the exception, the end of the season offers the lone hunter the best chance of success. Much of the undergrowth has fallen or thinned out and with some snow on the ground, the odds of getting a clear shot at your prey improve. Slow, watchful stalking, tapping into remaining brush is a very good strategy for success if alone or without a canine hunting partner.
Mike Barcaskey can be reached at [email protected].