HARRISBURG – More accessible areas and expanded hunting opportunities await hunters when they head into state forestlands for Monday’s start of the traditional two-week white-tailed deer season.
“Our bureau is opening more than 400 miles of roads normally closed to hunters in 18 of our 20 state forest districts across the state,” Daniel Devlin, director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry said.
More than 90 percent of all state forestland will now be within one-half mile of an open road during deer season. Throughout the state’s big game seasons, which run into January 2013, hunters will find more than 3,000 miles of roadway open in the state forests.
Access to some state forest roads will be determined by local weather and road conditions. Hunters should contact district offices in advance for up-to-date information.
Hunters traveling to the north central areas of the state are reminded some hunting areas and travel routes may be impacted by Marcellus Shale-related activities. Some state forest roads may be temporarily closed during drilling operations or other peak periods of heavy use to reduce potential safety hazards. To avoid potential conflicts on state forest roads during times of high public use, DCNR will attempt to limit or restrict truck traffic at the outset of major hunting and fishing seasons.
Many state parks, especially those in the 12-county Pennsylvania Wilds region, offer inexpensive camping and access to top-quality hunting in nearby state parks and forestland. Wilderness camping, offering hunters a chance to sample hunting far from the beaten path, also is offered in state forests across the state.
For the ninth consecutive year, DCNR is also supporting efforts of hunters seeking deer in state park and forestland Deer Management Assistance Program areas, as well as the goals of “Hunters Sharing the Harvest” – a statewide effort encouraging hunters to donate deer for processing into ground venison for Pennsylvania’s food banks, soup kitchens and pantries.
Successful hunters presenting DMAP tags from DCNR areas to meat processors in the “Hunters Sharing the Harvest” program will not be charged a fee. Other hunters, when donating the entire deer, are asked to make at least a $15, tax-deductible contribution to help cover processing costs. “Hunters Sharing the Harvest” pays the remaining fees.
To learn more about “Hunters Sharing the Harvest” visit www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on “Hunting” and then “Hunters Sharing the Harvest.”
A complete listing of open roads, effective dates and district office telephone numbers can be obtained at www.dcnr.state.pa.us. Select Bureau of Forestry, then “White-tailed deer in Pennsylvania’s forests.”