With the wide variety of seasons and opportunities for hunters this fall, it helps to have a simple guide to keep track of what’s happening and what’s required.
I took some time this week to highlight some of the items people are looking for on the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission (pgc.pa.gov) website for your convenience.
What Sundays can I hunt in Pennsylvania?
There are three Sundays open for hunting this fall, and more game species are available than last year.
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1. Nov. 14: Deer (archery), Bear (archery at WMU 2B, 5B, 5C, and 5D only), squirrel, pheasant, rabbit, grouse, quail, groundhog, raven, raccoon, fox, coyote, opossum, striped skunk, weasel and porcupine.
2. Nov. 21: Bear, Deer (archery only at WMU 2B, 5C, and 5D), Squirrel, Pheasant, Rabbit, Grouse, Quail, Woodchuck, Crow, Raccoon, Fox, Coyote, Opossum, Striped Skunk, Weasel, and porcupine. Coyote hunters, during any big game season, must follow the orange big game requirements.
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3. November 28: deer, bear, raccoon, fox and coyote. Raccoons and foxes may be hunted only after legal deer hunting hours. Coyote hunters, during any big game season, must follow the orange big game requirements. Crows may not be hunted during the regular deer firearm season.
PA rifle deer season
In the past, one part of the state only allowed bucks to be taken during the first part of the two-week deer firearm season. This year, hunters across the state can hunt deer or deer during the two-week season that runs from November 27 to December 27. 11, except Sunday, December 5.
PA Hunting Hours 2021
For all small and large game shooting hours are from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. This is a difficult question to describe since Pennsylvania is a large state. When you look at the time, it’s based on the time the sun rises and sets in the eastern half of the state. As you go west, you add minutes. If you’re on the Ohio border, it’s actually 20 minutes later than the eastern half of the state. Daylight saving time ends on November 7, which means it will rise earlier that day, but it will get dark shortly after 5 pm during the first half of winter.
Doe Tag Availability
If you are still looking for an antlerless deer license, you can only purchase one through a county treasurer. There are still several parts of the state that have licenses available to purchase without a prescription.
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On Tuesday, Wildlife Management Unit 2B around Pittsburgh had 21,552 tags, WMU 2A near the West Virginia border had 4,333, WMU 2C on the western Maryland border had just run out. WMU 4A, also along the Maryland border, had 15,199, WMU 5A along the central Maryland border had 3,227, and WMU 5D on the southeastern border of New Jersey and Delaware had 1,149. It can actually hold six hornless tags at a time.
Hunters are prohibited from importing parts or high-risk materials from cervids (deer, elk, elk) caught, harvested, or slaughtered in any state or country outside of Pennsylvania. In previous years, this applied only to those parts taken in states and provinces known to have CWD.
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Hunters are prohibited from moving high-risk parts outside of the newly created Established Area (EA), which covers parts of Bedford, Blair, Franklin, Fulton and Huntingdon counties. Hunters leaving the state this fall or hunting within Disease Management Area (DMA) 2 should plan to dispose of high-risk portions appropriately in the event they are successful in hunting a deer or other cervid.
Pa turkey season 2021
The big change this year is that you can no longer use centerfire or rimfire rifles and pistols during the fall. It’s an effort to help save some of the turkeys.
The seasons for this fall depend on where you want to hunt both chickens and gobblers.
WMU 2B (shotgun and bow and arrow only) – October 30-November. November 19 and 24-26;
WMU 1A, 1B, 4A, 4B, 4D and 4E: from October 30 to November 3. 6;
WMU 2A, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D and 4C: Oct 2-Nov 30 13;
WMU 2C, 2D and 2E: from October 30 to November 3. November 13 and 24-26;
WMU 5B (shotgun and bow and arrow only) – November 2-4;
WMU 5A, 5C and 5D: closed this year to turkey hunting.
In 2020, the state’s Crime Code was amended to allow property owners to use purple paint instead of signs to list their properties as private, no hunting, no trespassing. This law is effective in all counties except Philadelphia and Allegheny.
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Landlords who use purple paint to post their properties use vertical purple lines that are at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. The bottom of the mark should be no lower than 3 feet and no higher than 5 feet from the ground. And the painted markings should be no more than 100 feet apart.
Orange PA Requirements
During all small game seasons, deer, bear or elk firearm seasons and October muzzleloading antlerless deer seasons, a minimum of 250 square inches must be used at all times, on the head, chest and back combined and must be visible in 360 degrees. Those hunting in archery gear during these firearms seasons must meet the fluorescent orange color requirements.
Fluorescent orange is not required for bowhunting deer, bear, or elk, or for hunting waterfowl, pigeons, turkeys, ravens, or fur-bearing animals. Hunters participating in the spark muzzleloading season after Christmas are also not required to wear fluorescent orange. Even when fluorescent orange is not required, the Game Commission strongly recommends its use. For example, a fluorescent orange hat is recommended for turkey hunters while on the move. There are special orange requirements for those who hunt from a blind spot.
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While this is only a fraction of the rules and seasons found on the pgc.pa.gov website, I hope it helps you find more time to spend in the woods this fall. Good luck hunting.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA Today Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for our weekly outdoor newsletter via email on your website home page with his username.