Archery hunters across the state will be in their deer booths on Saturday, October 3, for the first day of the Pennsylvania statewide deer archery season.

The first part of the season will run until Friday, November 20. It will be closed on Sunday, with the exception of Sunday, November 15. For the first time, the season will last 7 weeks.

A statewide bear archery season will overlap 3 weeks of the archery season from October 17 to November 7.

Archers from 3 urbanized areas of the state – Wildlife Management Unit 2B around Pittsburgh and WMUs 5C and 5D in southeastern Pennsylvania – have been in the field since Saturday, September 19 for a first season.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission suggests that hunters spend as much time as possible in the field this fall before and during hunting seasons to model deer movements and identify areas where fall food is abundant. Food availability changes from year to year, and in areas where food is spotty, deer often move to find better food. Hot spots change from year to year, even from the start to the final weeks of the season, so tracking deer activity and determining their food sources is important to success.

Bow hunters are also reminded that the state’s new “purple paint law” is in effect, allowing landowners to mark their boundaries with purple markings, instead of signs.

While hunting in October often provides enjoyable days in the field, the warm weather also presents challenges for deer hunters who are successful in ensuring that the crops produce high quality game.

Especially in hot weather, slaughtered deer should be dressed quickly in the field, then removed from the field and cooled as soon as possible. While hanging a deer carcass in a shady location may be suitable in cooler temperatures, if the air temperature is above 50 degrees, hunters should refrigerate the carcass as soon as possible.

Hunters who harvest deer in disease management areas of the state must adhere to special rules designed to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania.

The prion that causes cervid encephalopathy is concentrated in the high-risk parts of deer, including the head and spine, and these parts cannot be transported outside of an AMD.

It is legal to remove the meat, without the spine, from a DMA. The cranial plate with the antlers attached can also be removed if no visible brain or spinal cord material is present.

Harvested deer can be brought to a cooperating taxidermist or a deer processor associated with a DMA in which they are taken, and processed meat and finished taxidermy mounts can be removed from the DMA when ready.

Successful hunters who intend to do their own processing and need to transport deer meat or other low-risk parts outside of an AMD may stop at one of the many sites of elimination established in the DMA. Several sites where hunters within DMAs may have high-risk games are established in public areas within DMAs.

Collection bins where hunters can deposit the heads of the deer they collect to have their CWD deer tested for free will also be installed at DMA sites. The backbone and other deer parts can be dumped in high-risk dumpsters set up in some of the same places.

An interactive map showing the location of all coin collection sites is available on the commission website MDC Information Page.

Contact Marcus Schneck at [email protected].

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