HARRISBURG – Offering white-tailed deer hunters more hunting opportunities across Pennsylvania, state forestlands and state parks again are participating in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Deer Management Assistance Program, or DMAP.
DMAP allows landowners to apply for permits to encourage antlerless harvests on their property, enabling DCNR and private landowners to more effectively manage white-tailed deer populations and curtail damage to forests and crops.
“We find it supportive that the PA Game Commission found our original allocation recommendations were based on sound science,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
“Our biologists, foresters and park managers continue to ascribe to a dynamic, thorough, detailed and scientific process that leads to all DCNR applications for DMAP permits.”
DCNR now is offering hunters 20,736 permits in 79 units totaling 968,054 acres. In 2016, 18,129 DMAP coupons were offered for 80 units totaling 973,363 acres.
State parks participating in the DMAP program include: Bald Eagle, Beltzville, Blue Knob, Canoe Creek, Codorus, Cook Forest, Gifford Pinchot, Hickory Run, Keystone, Kings Gap, Moraine, Nescopeck, Ohiopyle, Prince Gallitzin, Presque Isle, Raccoon Creek, Ricketts Glen, Ryerson Station, Shawnee and Tobyhanna.
“These numbers continue to reflect what our foresters and park managers see on the state lands they know so well,” Dunn said.
“This year the Bureau of Forestry added four DMAP units — two in Susquehannock State Forest and one each in Michaux and Tioga — while removing five units in the Loyalsock and Tiadaghton state forests.”
Habitat conditions continue to guide all DCNR’s DMAP applications, the secretary said, and those permits remain an important tool upon which state forest and park managers rely heavily for continued sustainability of state plants and forests.
“Requests for DMAP-targeted areas, and the number of permits sought, are science-driven,” Dunn said.
“DCNR has a statistically based vegetation sampling protocol, with more than 10,000 plots across state forestland, which assists us in determining where DMAP should be applied.”
Before any DMAP applications are made with the commission, Dunn said the department follows a rigid forest-health survey that includes:
- Meetings within the 20 state forest districts to determine if inventory data shows regeneration and understory, herbaceous vegetation has reached each district’s goal;
- Professional forester observations noting deer-browsing pressure and impact;
- Studies of regeneration, and diversity of tree, shrub and wildflowers, as well as fencing requirements to keep deer out of areas to be timbered;
- Timber harvest and regeneration data;
- Individual district management plans that are reviewed by a group of foresters, biologists, and other professionals, and then overseen by a final executive committee.
DMAP tags go on sale June 19, when state hunting licenses also go on sale. Hunters obtain permits directly from license issuing agents or the Game Commission Web site, www.pgc.state.pa.gov.
Applicants for DMAP permits can find DCNR tract locations and maps, availability numbers, past hunter success rates and other information online.
Visitors to DMAP Permits and Maps, will find state park and forestlands participating in DMAP; unit numbers; total issued permits; and permits available. A click on hyperlinked DMAP unit numbers will show a map of that unit, an important feature as some state parks have specific areas where the DMAP permit is to be applied, and may not include the entire park.