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Big changes coming to southcentral Pa. hunting season

Written by Maddie Crocenzi/The York Daily Record | Aug 17, 2017 10:17 AM
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FILE PHOTO: Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer Terry Beer, right, checks the hunting licenses of Dante Bauccio, center, and Aaron Rech. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(York) -- This season, Southcentral Pennsylvania residents will see a split firearms deer season and a new fall turkey season. 

Pennsylvania is divided into different hunting zones, called Wildlife Management Units. WMU 5A includes parts of Adams, Cumberland, York and Franklin counties. WMU 5B includes parts of York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties. 

Those two zones will now operate under a split firearms deer season. The season for antlered deer is Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, and the season for both antlered and antlerless is Dec. 2 to Dec. 9.

The new format will not apply to Deer Management Assistance Program properties, which allow landowners and resource managers to control the amount of deer on the property.  

Pennsylvania Game Commission Press Secretary Travis Lau said the split-season format allows for a second opening day effect. "Our board believes that's a good thing to build into these season formats -- those opportunities for two heavily participated days instead of one."

To compensate for the shorter concurrent firearms deer season, there is an increase in available antlerless deer tags.

The portion of Adams, Cumberland, York and Franklin counties in WMU 5A went from 19,000 to 22,000 tags, while parts of York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties in WMU 5B went from 50,000 to 57,000. 

Most of the state will follow the split season except for a zone in the western part of the state, and two zones in the east. 

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Hunters in parts of York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties will also have a fall turkey season from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. Adams, Cumberland, York and Franklin counties in WMU 5A will have a fall turkey season from Nov. 2 to 4. Both hens and toms will be up for grabs. 

"The fall season has historically been closed in 5B in York County," Lau said. "Our wild turkey populations were slow to take hold there." 

Lau said the turkey population in parts of York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties has now doubled. The new midweek fall season is intentionally "conservative" to give hunters an opportunity to harvest turkeys, but keep the population under control. 

To see maps of each WMU, see the Hunting & Trapping Digest, starting at page 23: http://bit.ly/2uJIyYH


This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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