(Harrisburg, PA.)- As rifle deer season gets underway in the state today, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say before hunters start their hunt for the best catch, the state Bureau of Forestry has a newly vamped website is offering resources for hunters to make their quest more enjoyable and rewarding. The website includes a wealth of maps, statistics, and other topical information.
“Those hunters who enjoy roaming our state forest and parklands will find an interactive map of the state, and a multi-faceted website designed by hunters — for hunters,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Not just deer hunters but others seeking bear, turkey, small game and even waterfowl in other seasons will find this information invaluable.”
Offering details on newly opened roads, timber harvesting activity, forestry office contact numbers and much more, the state forest map can be viewed at http://maps.dcnr.pa.gov/bof/huntmap/index.html.
“The website looks beyond deer for hunters who may be seeking other species,” said Dunn. “Grouse and turkey hunters and others in tune with good, healthy habitat will be interested in locations of young aspen stands; winter thermal cover; wildlife openings; oak forests and timber sales.”
In addition, the site:
- Locates newly opened roads on state forestlands;
- Offers directions to locations that prompt interest;
- Displays legal shooting hours and supplies current weather conditions including wind direction and strength;
- Lists season and bag limits, filtered by species, season type, and/or what’s currently in season;
- Delineates Pa. Game Commission Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) and what state forests they encompass;
- Lists deer harvest statistics and antlered and antlerless license allocations for WMUs;
- Facilitates elk hunters in choosing Elk Hunting Zone applications by showing boundaries on base map, along with each zone’s public land access, road access and the number of elk tags issued.
Hunters heading into Pennsylvania’s state-owned woodlands on Monday, Nov. 28, will find additional roads open in 18 of the 20 state forest districts.
“The Bureau of Forestry hopes to improve accessibility while promoting hunting where it is needed to benefit forest regeneration and the overall ecosystem,” said Dunn. “For that reason, a total of 540 miles of state forest roads normally open only for administrative use will again be available to hunters and others visiting state forestlands this year.”
Meanwhile, top-quality hunting is offered at many state parks — especially those in the 12-county Pennsylvania Wilds region — where state forestland often surrounds them. Inexpensive camping can be found at many of those parks.
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, are required when camping on state forestlands on designated sites.
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. Also, certain areas of Loyalsock State Forest were heavily impacted by recent flooding and access to some areas may be difficult for some.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s 20 state forest districts and 121 state parks, visit www.dcnr.pa.gov. Marcellus Shale information can be found on Bureau of Forestry pages under “Natural Gas Drilling on State Forests.” Camping opportunities and details can be found on both the “Forestry” and “State Park” pages.