PENNSYLVANIA, USA — With archery deer season approaching, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is providing tips, reinforcing techniques, and dishing out everything hunters need to know before they head into the woods this fall.
The 2022-23 statewide archery season runs from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12, continues on Sunday, Nov. 13, then goes from Nov. 14 to 18. It comes back in from Dec. 26 to Jan. 16, 2023. During these months, more than 330,000 hunters annually fill the Pennsylvania forests.
According to a release, archers pursuing whitetails in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B and 5C and 5D, around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively, can start hunting two weeks sooner, get an additional Sunday, and can go later into 2023. In those WMUs, archery season runs from Sept. 17 to Nov. 12, continues on Sunday, Nov. 13, goes Nov. 14 to 19, continues on a second Sunday, Nov. 20, and goes from Nov. 21 to 25. It comes back in on Dec. 26 and goes through Jan. 28, 2023.
“Pennsylvania’s archery deer season is an amazing time to be afield,” Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said in a statement. “With autumn’s vibrant colors and increasingly cooler temperatures serving as the backdrop, the season gives hunters the chance to chase whitetails before, during, and after the peak of the rut. It’s clear hunters appreciate that opportunity and are taking advantage of it.”
And he's right: both resident and non-resident archery licenses sales hit an all-time high in 2020. This likely had to due with the fact that, according to the commission, it added a seventh week to the statewide archery season that year.
The game commission is also reminding hunters that holders of junior and senior lifetime combination licenses can participate in archery season.
The commission also said in a statement that hunters may use long, recurve or compound bows, or crossbows and they must have a draw weight of at least 35 pounds, while crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds.
The commission also recommends that hunters "spend as much time as possible afield this fall prior to and during the hunting seasons to scout and identify areas where deer are traveling and bedding and where fall foods are abundant." After all, as the commission points out, food availability changes from year to year, and deer go where the food is.
Hunters may use "illuminated nocks" for arrows and bolts, as they can help locate an arrow or bolt after it is fired. However, transmitter-tracking arrows are illegal, it says.
Tree stands and climbing devices that cause damage to trees are unlawful as well, unless a hunter has written permission from the landowner, the commission also stated. Portable hunting tree stands and blinds are allowed on state game lands, but not until two weeks before the opening of the archery deer season, the commission said. Hunters that choose to use these must remove them no later than two weeks after the close of the flintlock and late archery deer seasons. If a hunter chooses to use any sort of stand, the user's name and hunting identification must be on the device.
Those who plan to hunt on private property on the Sundays open to archers must carry with them written permission from the landowner to be there, the commission also said.
Finally, the commission stressed the importance of practicing how to use your equipment.
For information/pricing on hunting licenses in the state of Pennsylvania, click here.