(Harrisburg) -- Many schools and businesses will be closed today for Pennsylvania’s unofficial holiday, the start of rifle deer season at sunrise.
The first day of deer season is typically the most hunted day of the year in the state. The state Game Commission has pegged the number of hunters out in the woods and fields at about 750,000.
"Hunters putting pressure on deer amount to greater deer sightings, more deer sightings throughout the day, more deer harvested throughout the day, and it’s an opportunity that most deer hunters wouldn’t trade anything to miss," Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau says.
Coming up with a figure for the statewide deer herd population proves more tricky. Lau says commission biologists pin hefty caveats to such estimates.
"They are an imaginary number," he says. "They are compiled from harvest estimates that are created by a formula because we know only about 60 percent of hunters report their harvests.
Statewide, the deer population looks to be stable or growing, except in the area around Pittsburgh. Lau says it's “by design,” because there’s not much habitat around the city and its suburbs.
Between 50 and 60 percent of the deer killed throughout the two-week season are expected to be taken on opening day.
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