Pennsylvania residents are urging the state’s Game Commission to expand its deer hunting season, and not just hunters. According to the Associated Press, farmers are among the most concerned with the increase of deer numbers in certain parts of the state.
While some states are suffering a shortage of deer, overpopulation has its own dangers. Large numbers of deer mean increased automobile collisions, forest degradation, and crop damage. Lancaster Online reported that in a survey sent to members of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, farmers complained about “a tremendous amount of damage.”
Now residents are asking the commission to open the modern firearms season early in hopes of hunters bagging more deer. In the proposal outlined by the Farm Bureau, farmers are only asking for the season to be opened two days before the state’s traditional post-Thanksgiving opener. However, having the opening day be on the weekend will allow younger hunters and those attending school more opportunities to hit the field. The bureau’s local affairs director, Jeff Grove, suggested that the commission test the new schedule in a few hunting units to determine its impact on deer.
On the other hand, some hunters and conservationists believe that an overly liberal hunting season could lead to a decrease in deer. Contrary to the Farm Bureau’s survey, some say that deer are becoming an increasing rare sight in the state.
According to the Commission, hunters harvested an estimated 343,110 deer during the 2012-13 season, which was slightly above the average since 2005.
Image courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission