Pennsylvania Moves Historic Deer-Season Opener

posted on June 13, 2019

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners voted in an April meeting to change the opening day of firearm deer season and amend the fluorescent orange requirements for archery deer hunters and fall turkey hunters.

Effective July 1, hunters are no longer required to wear fluorescent orange during the 2019–2020 archery deer, elk and bear seasons while moving or stationary. Also removed from state laws are the blaze-orange requirements for fall turkey hunters. All other fluorescent orange stipulations are still in effect.

In a bolder move, the Commission agreed to change the opening day of firearm deer season from the Monday after Thanksgiving to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, breaking a Pennsylvania tradition that has stood for more than half a century. While this move extends the season from 12 to 13 days, it also provides three Saturdays to hunt deer with firearms instead of two allowed by the previous start date (Sunday hunting is still banned in Pennsylvania).

According to the Board, it is hoped the new date will encourage more hunter participation and hunter recruitment by giving those who have weekends off (think school-age hunters with sports and after-school activities) more time in the field.

“We need to look to the future concerning our hunters and bring in more youth,” said Board Commissioner Brian Hoover.


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