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The late archery and flintlock muzzleloader season kicks in Dec. 26

A buck like this may still be roaming Penn's Woods during the late archery/flintlock hunting seasons
A buck like this may still be roaming Penn's Woods during the late archery/flintlock hunting seasonsby Nick Hromiak

If you’re like me and still have your buck tag intact, you’ll get another shot when the late season for antlered and antlerless deer kicks in Dec. 26 to Jan. 25.

But listen up. The regulations have changed since last year. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), some areas wherein hunters previously were permitted to use in-line muzzleloaders and slug guns to hunt antlerless deer in the late season, will be closed to hunting.

The PGC says that in previous years and during the post-Christmas antlerless season, the firearms season extended into WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D that included counties under special regulations. This year, the antlerless only firearms season is open only in those special-regulations counties – not in the entire WMU in which they are located.

For instance, WMU 5C extends into Bucks County so hunters need to verify the locations they plan to hunt if they are within those special reg’s counties so as to be in compliance with the new rules.

This change suggests that the PGC has met their deer reduction quotas, and henceforth found it necessary to suspend the previous firearms ruling. This is, however, only speculation.

The antlerless-only firearms season is open only in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

To emphasize, other counties within the same WMUs as above listed counties are not open to firearms hunting. Hunters may, however, use bows, crossbows and flintlock muzzleloaders in parts of Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties found in WMU 2B; and parts of Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh and Northampton counties, found in WMU 5C. Counties in 5D are all special regulation counties.

The antlerless only late firearms season in special reg counties runs concurrently with the late archery and flintlock seasons in those counties, per the PGC.

Other than WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D where the season runs from Dec. 26 to Jan, 25, the season in the rest of the state for archery/flintlock muzzleloader, runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 11.

And unlike the late firearms season, properly licensed (archery or muzzleloader) hunters can take a buck or a doe.

As for the wearing of orange, the PGC strongly suggests wearing the 250 inches when hunting in special regulations areas.

LATE SEASON PHEASANT RELEASES

The PGC had planned on releasing about 2,400 pheasants for the late season that began Dec. 16 statewide. But because Avian cholera infected birds at the PGCs Loyalsock Game Farm (located northeast of Williamsport) last week, the PGC has chosen to abandon plans to release pheasants that they previously were going to release after the birds received antibiotic treatments that would have lasted 10-14 days and then another seven after that to withdraw from the medicines before being released.

Here in the Southeast Region, birds were scheduled to be released in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties. And in the Northeast Region, Carbon and Monroe counties. Elsewhere, about 9,000 pheasants were released.

Other areas affected include: Northcentral Region, Clearfield County; and in the Southcentral Region, Cumberland and Franklin counties.

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