HARRISBURG – Hunters heading into Pennsylvania’s public-owned woodlands this season will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts, announced Bureau of Forestry Director Dan Devlin.
“Hunters will have access to 460 miles of state forest roads that are normally open only for administrative use,” Devlin said. “By opening normally locked gates, the Bureau of Forestry hopes to improve accessibility while promoting hunting in often remote areas where hunting pressure is needed to benefit forest regeneration and the overall ecosystem.”
During the state’s main archery season, which opens Oct. 2 and closes Nov. 13, and other deer hunting seasons running into January 2011, hunters will find more than 3,000 miles of roadway open in state forestlands.
“Whether their quarry is deer, bear or turkey, hunters in our state forests will find more than 90 percent of that land now is within one-half mile of an open road,” said Devlin, an avid hunter who serves as state forester for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Devlin reminded hunters that many state parks, especially those in the 12-county Pennsylvania Wilds region, offer inexpensive camping and access to top-quality hunting in nearby public forestlands. Primitive camping is also an option on state forestlands, giving hunters the backcountry camping/hunting experience of their forefathers. Camping permits, issued by the managing forest district, will be required when camping on state forestlands.
“Some of our state parks and forests in the north-central area of the state have seen the same parties of hunters camping for years, and our state forest sites hold an unique allure for those who really enjoy ‘roughing it,’” Devlin said.
In addition, many of these campsites are near state park and forestlands enrolled in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP), permitting hunters to take one antlerless deer or more when properly licensed hunters are advised to check with state forests district headquarters or state park offices about availability.
Devlin noted access to some state forest roads always will be dependent on local weather and road conditions. He suggested hunters contact district offices in advance for the most up-to-date information.
Some roads only will be opened for the second week of the traditional rifle season because they cannot withstand the expected heavy traffic of the first week. Two- or three-month-long openings will be in effect only where there is minimal threat of damage or deterioration to road surfaces or forest surroundings.
Road openings are planned in the following state forest districts and counties:
• Michaux: Franklin, Cumberland and Adams counties;
• Buchanan: Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Franklin counties;
• Tuscarora: Huntingdon, Franklin, Cumberland, Perry, Juniata and Mifflin counties;
• Forbes: Fayette, Westmoreland and Somerset counties;
• Rothrock: Huntingdon, Mifflin, Blair and Centre counties;
• Gallitzin: Somerset County;
• Bald Eagle: Centre, Mifflin, Snyder, Clinton, Union and Lycoming counties;
• Clear Creek: Venango and Jefferson counties;
• Moshannon: Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Cameron and Elk counties;
• Sproul: Clinton and Centre counties;
• Tiadaghton: Western Lycoming, Clinton, Union, Tioga and Potter counties;
• Elk: McKean, Cameron, Potter and Elk counties;
• Susquehannock: Potter and Clinton counties;
• Tioga: Tioga County;
• William Penn: Berks County;
• Weiser: Schuylkill and Columbia Counties;
• Delaware: Monroe and Pike counties;
• Loyalsock: Sullivan, Bradford and eastern Lycoming counties.
A complete listing of open roads, effective dates and district office telephone numbers can be obtained at www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/deer/huntingaccess.aspx, or by calling the district offices.
Camping opportunities and details can be found on the “Forestry” and “State Park” pages at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.