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September 17, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Should PA Ban Doe Hunting?

From thepittsburgchannel.com;

"A group called the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania is seeking a court injunction to ban the hunting of antlerless deer ... According to the group, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has mismanaged the herd so that the state has lost 3 million deer in the past six years and there aren't enough left to hunt freely."

How do all you Pennsylvania hunters feel about the issue?


Trent M.

This is pure ignorance by people stuck in the 1970's.

Anyone who supports this needs to read any study published in the last 10 years about herd dynamics.

Are these hunters concerned about what is good for them, or the deer.

This action is a JOKE.



I feel that in some PA Management Units (2-F, for example) it is greatly needed to stop the hunting for a few season to repopulate those areas. Those were once areas of high populations of both buck and doe and now you rarely see deer taken out of there, even though licenses for that unit is sold out every year. However, in other managemen units (2-B) there is such an overpopulation of deer that the state offers over 60000 doe licenses for that unit and never nearly sell that amount. In my opinion, there should be some down time of hunting in certain units, however a ban on all doe hunting across the state is unneeded and ridiculous


Being from PA, and seeing the number of carcasses on the roadways on a daily basis, I have trouble believing the herd has been completely decimated.

TV has done this. The hunting shows have convinced people that is is normal to see 300 deer--150 of which are trophy bucks--every day you hunt. This is what Texas style hunting and its proponents have done to the sport.


VERY well put Gary.

Unfortuneatley the things you say apply to too many issues currently at hand facing those who wish to hunt for sustenance.


Should doe hunting be banned entirely?...No.
Having said that, the PA Game Commission has succumbed to increased pressure placed on them over the last decade from auto insurance and forestry lobbyists.
I must admit, it is nice to see 30-40 deer while hunting, but I do recognize that having a high density may not be beneficial to the overall herd.

The PGC needs to be more responsible with the number of tags allocated for each area. The herd in some parts of the state have been decimated. I know becuase I hunt in one of them (2G). Maybe doe licenses do need to be eliminated in these areas for 1-2 years until the herd can recover.
What is not talked about often, is the fact that the mortality rate of fawns has increased dramatically, due to the explosion of the coyote and bear populations. All these factors need to be figured into the equation.


I completely agree with Trent. Most of these people are hunters who are used to the time when deer over ran PA and refuse to actually hunt for their deer. Moreover, does provide many more, and often easier opportunities for hunters to harvest venison and be successful. Cutting out the doe season would cut hunter success and most likely contribute to the already low participation in our sport.

I hunt in blue marsh W. M .A ,i have been hunting here for 25 years. The last 5 years the deer hunting is at its worst ive seen.The heards are gone,doe hunting should not be on opening day of buck.IT SHOULD GO BACK TO 3 DAYS OF DOE AFTER BUCK LIKE IT USED TO BE.


I hunt in blue marsh W. M .A ,i have been hunting here for 25 years. The last 5 years the deer hunting is at its worst ive seen.The heards are gone,doe hunting should not be on opening day of buck.IT SHOULD GO BACK TO 3 DAYS OF DOE AFTER BUCK LIKE IT USED TO BE.


I think Doe hunting ought to be banned until the herd can recover. If it can be targeted to certain locations then ok, but if not then ban all doe hunting.

It is better to do that now, before the the problem gets to far out of control. Nobody likes it nor should they have to, but it makes sense to do it now then wait for the problem to get worse.


Hey how about this, if u think the doe numbers are too low in ur area how about u and ur buddies not hunt doe for that year or maybe 2 years. Banning doe hunting all together throughout the state would create mayhem because the deer would eat up all the habitat and then begin to starve to death. Most people in this state (PA) hunt the big woods where deer travel great distances daily so ofcourse its harder to hunt the deer, but damnit i don't have a problem harvisting a doe every year out of the big woods because i actually HUNT not just sit on my ass and expect the deer to come to me. Do ur homework people and u will realize that the deer herd in PA is still huge and still needs to be managed. Look at it this way i also hunt in 5C with a group of guys who on average harvest 20-30 does a year each and there is still a huge population of deer in this area. I blaim the irresponsible gun hunters in the big woods for this outrage because from experience i have come to find that they shoot carelessly and dont follow up on the trail to find the animal.


I agree that PA needs to stop the hunting in some of the northern regions. Guys from pittsburgh, Harrisburgh, and Philadelphia travel north to deer camp and wait till about 9am if they have'nt got a buck but that doe tag is itchin in their pocket they are shooting the next deer they see, just to put meat in the freezer and get back to work on tuesday.


I've been out the past two days for the early anterless season in 5-C. Saw 20 does yesterday and 7 today, all within the 100 acre farm I was hunting. PA just needs to re-work the gmae laws. I moved from Ohio and it was a lot simpler to get a tag, and there were still plenty of deer. By the way, I'm a little tired of all the ads in the hunting digest.


I've been hunting 4C and 4E for the past three years. I get out about 4 times each season so I by no means am as die hard as some hunters, but each year I have had at least 1 mature doe walk within range. In NEPA I don't see a problem with the herd at all.


This sorry mess is the harvest of Gary Alt and QDMA's promise of pie in the sky monster bucks everywhere in Pa. The number of Pa. hunters has been declining steadily and the promise of buck management and monster bucks was conceived to attract nonresident hunters and their wallets. I feel just like the democrats, I'd like to get the hell outa Iraq too but I don't have a plan ditto for the mess Gary the Great created.


Yes! I think they should ban doe season for at least 5 years. And bring back Spike buck rule. I have been hunting for 47 years now and for the past 6 seasons I been hunting without very little success. I live and hunt in the 2G section and there are very few deer here in the area of Goshen, Frenchville, Karthus, Elliott State Park, Medix Run, and Quehanna. This so called trophy buck program they've got going on now is a bunch of crap just to kater to the wealthy. I go hunting to feed my family like my forefathers did. Not to kill a deer to hang it's dead head on the wall. And a lot of these so called trophy hunters don't even eat the meat. And to Jason MR don't sit on your ass you and your buddies are nothing but HOGS of the worst kind

Tom Gore

I have read the comments and some are true, The auto insurance and foresters has lobbied to decrease the herd. I have hunted Pa for 40 years now. I have appreciated the antler restrictions:the number of deer have decreased immensely as everyone has mentioned. The result is that young hunters are bored in the woods. The casual hunter no longer buys a license just to see a couple of deer. Out of state hunters are not spending their money here on hotel rooms. The game commission seems out of touch with the common hunter whose concerns fall on seemingly deaf ears. Along with all this, the majority of landowners now post their land making access to those who want to hunt, difficult to obtain. Personally, i started to bowhunt about 13 years ago. Last year during archery, I saw more bucks than does in the limited area I hunt. The sex ratio is a bit out of balance. I would submit limiting doe hunting to the first monday and saturdays of gun season. That should be the days when most hunters are in the woods and would be able to take a doe if he wanted rather than keeping it open for the whole 2 weeks.

Steven C.

I do not think that PA should ban doe hunting. I am currently a college student working on a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with Environmental Emphasis, which means that many of my classes have to do with population dynamics and the environment in general. I am also a PA resident, so I actually hunt for deer, along with other species, and I've hunted in Erie, Crawford, Warren, and Clarion counties, so I've seen various areas across Northwest PA, and to be honest, much of the forest that I've seen is not suitable for great numbers of deer. Much of the forest that is low enough for the deer to browse on(at least where I've hunted) is made up of beech and hemlock as the main trees, and ferns as the ground cover. The problem with this is that those plants are not preferrable browse, and many fern species are actually toxic, which is why they are left alone. This means that much of the current forest structure is basically useless for very large populations of deer. Also, the antler restrictions and number of doe tags that are sold are necessary to balance the buck to doe ratio, maintain a healthy age structure, and to keep the population at or below carrying capacity. If the deer are above carrying capacity, they do damage to the plants around them, which is why much of the forest is not preferrable browse because they eat all the preferred plants and leave the others to take over. Also, I'm kind of unhappy with people that say that they want more deer because they are also saying to heck with the habitat. If the doe harvest is lessened, then the deer population will explode, and the deer population will be in even worse shape than before concurrent buck/doe seasons. To those that say that with less deer, more young hunters will be lost, maybe it's because of the example that you are setting for my generation. One of the major flaws that I see among my peers today is the lack of patience, and if young hunters constantly get deer with little to no effort, not only will they fail to learn patience, they will probably be more likely to just give up when a challenge comes their way because there isn't an easy way to succeed. If you want to get youngsters involved in hunting, start with small game, like rabbits and squirrels, and then move up to big game, like deer, so they will get some successes under their belt early on in their hunting career, and they will be more likely to put up with long hours on stand for deer because they have already caught the hunting bug with small game.


Steven c.

Well thought out and written post.I think you've pointed out that there's more to deer and other wildlife population management than just what someone sees from their favorite deer stand. and you comment on young hunters is right on. It seems that the term hunting has become synonimous with "deer hunting only".

Josh P.

I am a resident of PA and have recently hunted in many different areas of the state. It is with great embarrassment that i place myself in the same category, a PA hunter, as the uneducated morons who believe a ban on doe hunting is something which should legitimately be considered. About 5 or 6 years ago a went to a Game Commission presentation designed to explain the new deer hunting regulations, including increased doe licenses and season length, as well as antler restrictions. Although i was already aware of the sound science behind the ideas, many were not. However, nearly all in attendance at least understood the reasons behind the proposed action by the end of the presentation. And it has worked, despite being in my final year of college, and lower deer numbers than ever before, in only a few (9-12?) days of hunting from October through January, i still not only saw several deer each time out, but encountered over 40 different bucks, many at close range and some very large, finally taking a decent 8point with a flintlock in January. Despite all of this, the public at large has somehow reverted to their previous ignorant ways. They want more deer so they can see hundreds of deer every day while stinking like BO and stale beer and smoking a cigarette in woods they have not stepped foot in since the "The first day-a-buck" last year. Granted there are not many deer in many of the areas they complain about, but the land cannot support many due to poor previous management. By reducing the herd to small numbers, it will then be possible to manage the land back to higher holding capacities, at which time the deer population will be allowed to increase to higher, but still sustainable, numbers. If the majority of hunters in PA could get it through their thick skulls that what is best for the deer is best for the deer hunter, Their success and their public image, which is currently equal to talking piles of trash, will improve. And that would be better for everyone.


Idiots! Have they not seen how out of whack the herd gets when the doe ratio is to large i.e. smaller bucks,disease, over population. IDIOTS!!!!! Who the hell can back this up with any valid data? IDIOTS!!!


I'm not a deer management expert, but I know that the herds I used to see are no longer. I hunt in the the heaviest hunted unit, 2D, where I own more than 50 acres bordering state land. I believe seeing more game is important to the youth hunters, in order to keep their interest and pass tradition to future generations. Currently, we've had seasons with no deer seen. Deer Season, in Western Pa, in the 70's and 80's was like the Superbowl! Now, it doesn't seem to be the same.

*** What concerns me most is that a lot of young bucks are being shot as does and thereby not maturing as intended.

The game commission has posted hunting licenses falling under a million for the first time in years (2005 & 2006).

Antler restrictions make for safer hunting and better breeding, but I support going back to the former 3 day doe season after buck season.

Additionally, the overpopulated areas are close to suburbia and lightly hunted.

Coyotes are also putting a toll on the deer. We haven't seen as many younger deer over the last 4 years. I've never heard a coyote in PA until 2001 and subsequently killed one on my land. Coyotes are good for cleaning up country road kill.

However, I would like to see more discussions on Sunday hunting, like most other states offer.

Steven C.

Joe, I personally have hunted the 2D area, near Clarion, and the area didn't have much for the deer to browse on. The reason that the deer population is so low is because it must be dropped to that level in order for the forest to regenerate. In order to have a healthy deer population and a healthy forest, the population must be at or below the carrying capacity of the area, and with little browse, the carrying capacity isn't all that large. I too don't like that button bucks are being shot, but I'm sure the same thing happened during the 3 day doe season. If we go back to the 3 day doe season, the population will explode and will eat themselves out of house and home, and we could have some major winter kills because of the overpopulation. If the overpopulated areas are close to suburbia, maybe more bowhunters should try to help out there, or, if it's safe enough, maybe shotguns and muzzleloaders could be used to thin out the population there. As far as younger deer go, I saw quite a few fawns near the Punxsutawney area this summer, but maybe there are less coyotes there than by you. I also think that PA should allow Sunday hunting.


Steven C. is right on track. Still have'nt seen any valid data this will make a healthy herd.Years ago a club I was in contacted game and fish to get on a management program.We had lots of deer mostly does and small or deformed racks.The first thing they had us do was kill every doe we possibly could.Next small bucks with long spikes or deformities.Within 2 years we had dramatic changes. Healthier fawns more twins, larger bodied deer over all. This is my personal data that adoe ban is a very bad idea if you want healthy deer!!!


I am a PA resident and a Biologist. I am also a hunter. Last season my father, myself, my daughter and two of my uncles spent a combined total of two days on stand (arriving before daylight and leaving at dusk) a total of 80 hours. As a group we have combined to harvest over 140 legal bucks in the state of PA alone. In those 80 hours we saw 2 deer in the last hour of the last day. Good luck getting kids involved with those types of populations. Hunters are now being asked to pay for 100 years of forest mismanagement by various agencies, because enourmous doe harvests are the cheapest (actually money maker) solution. From a biological standpoint we need to kill a lot less does, point blank. However guys, between the hunters at my camp, we bought 54 doe or dmap tags last year. and filled 1 (a youth). The bottom line is we are pulling the trigger. You want more deer? Shoot less, and convince those you hunt with of the same.


My apologies if my comments are off the mark. Im not a biologist but is sounds like PA has too many deer in some places and almost none in others.Where im from alot of the hunting is on private land and is easier to manage. I wish y'all in PA the best of luck in your future deer hunting. Hope the powers that be can straighten out this mess for ya.Best wishes an good hunting. I'm going to keep an eye on this story because this could happen to any state given the mismanagement on this level.

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