Hunters heading into Pennsylvania’s state-owned woodlands this season will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced today.
“More than 400 miles of state forest roads normally open only for administrative use will be available to hunters in state forestlands this year,” said DCNR Bureau of Forestry Director Daniel Devlin. “The Bureau of Forestry hopes to improve accessibility while promoting hunting where it is needed to benefit forest regeneration and the overall ecosystem.”
More than 3,000 miles of state forest roadways are open during the state’s main archery season, which opens Saturday and closes Nov. 12. They will continue to stay open through the rest of the hunting seasons until January 2013.
“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.
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 on state forestlands is also an option, giving hunters a backcountry camping or hunting experience. Camping permits, issued by the managing forest district, will be required when camping on state forestlands. Many of these campsites are close to state parks and forestlands enrolled in the Deer Management Assistance Program, 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.
Hunters traveling to some 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.Some state forest 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.
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.”
Marcellus Shale information can be found on the bureau page under “Natural gas drilling on state forests.” Camping opportunities and details can be found on both the “Forestry” and “State Park” pages.
Logo courtesy Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources