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Pennsylvania 2007-08 Deer Harvest Drops

From Pennsylvania Game Commission

-- The Pennsylvania Game Commission recently reported that hunters harvested an estimated 323,070 deer in the state's 2007-08 seasons. That's down 11 percent from the previous seasons' harvest. 

Hunters took 109,200 antlered deer in the 2007-08 seasons, down 19 percent from the previous license year's harvest of 135,290. Also, hunters harvested 213,870 antlerless deer in 2007-08, a five percent drop from the 226,270 antlerless deer taken in 2006-07. 

"What stands out most when looking over the harvest data is the difference in the opening day deer kill of the two-week firearms season," said Dr. Christopher Rosenberry, Game Commission Deer Section Supervisor.  "Report cards sent in by hunters show the antlered deer harvest on the opening day, Nov. 26, dropped more than 50 percent from 2006. Daily harvests for the rest of the two-week season, Nov. 27-Dec. 8, were similar to 2006.

"The firearms season's opening day antlerless deer harvest also dropped nearly 50 percent from 2006.  However, the antlerless harvest throughout the remainder of the two-week season increased and, in due course, erased some of the opening day's harvest shortfall."

Based on past year's results, Rosenberry noted that it wasn't surprising that the drop in opening day harvests had a larger effect on the antlered harvest than the antlerless harvest.

"Historically, a majority of the antlered deer harvest occurs on opening day, whereas the antlerless harvest is typically more evenly distributed across the entire two weeks," Rosenberry said. 

Bureau of Wildlife Management personnel currently are working to develop antlerless deer license allocation recommendations for the April Board meeting.  Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director, said that in addition to harvest data, the staff will be looking at population trend data, deer reproduction data, forest regeneration data, input from five new Citizen Advisory Committees, and hunter survey results.

Harvest estimates for 2007-08 seasons are based on 124,569 usable harvest report cards (40,482 antlered; 84,087 antlerless) returned by hunters to the Commission and 25,400 deer (7,338 antlered; 18,062 antlerless) examined by Game Commission personnel in the field and at processors. 

For an explanation of the agency's deer harvest estimating procedure, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on "Deer Program" in the "Quick Clicks" box in the right-hand corner of the homepage, then scroll down and select "Deer Harvest Estimates" brochure. 

To view a peer-reviewed article published in the Journal of Wildlife Management (2004) about the agency's deer harvest estimating procedure, go the "Deer Program" section, scroll down and choose "Communication, Education and Outreach to Citizens," and then select "Reporting rate variability and precision of white-tailed deer harvest estimates in Pennsylvania" in the "Science Publications" listing.

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