Sunday, December 6, 2015

Opening Day Of PA Deer Season Draws Better Crowds Than A Year Ago

Bull Creek member Bill Davis with his buck from
Clarion County taken the first day 2015
By Bob Frye 
Better weather. More hunting pressure. And more whitetails harvested.
That's how opening day of deer season across Pennsylvania went in many places Monday.
“I probably saw more hunters and checked more dead deer than I did all last year in the two-week season. Or at least more than in the entire first week last year. I feel confident in saying that,” said Chris Bergman, a wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission who patrolled in eastern Washington and western Fayette counties.
Dan Puhala, the commission's officer in northern Allegheny County, said he and his deputies saw plenty of hunters, too. Several killed bucks.
“They weren't massive, but they weren't bad either. One was a pretty decent size,” Puhala said.
Officer Mike Papinchak, who patrols northern Westmoreland County, said he saw a lot of activity, too.
“I saw a few deer taken, and a couple of real nice bucks actually. I had a nice 10-point killed in Murrysville. It was a real nice deer,” Papinchak said.
That's not to say everyone harvested, or saw, a deer.
“I didn't see anything all day, other than some other hunters,” said Dan Balcerek of Green Tree, who spent a good portion of the day hunting state game land 203 near Warrendale.
“I keep seeing buck rubs. I'm just not seeing the bucks. There just aren't enough people out here to move them around.”
John Yasko of Harmony, too, hunted game land 203, and he likewise was skunked as of mid-afternoon.
He had seen few hunters and no deer. He had been counting on a few of the former to move some of the latter.
“But it turned out I was wrong,” Yasko said.
A lack of hunting pressure was a factor in other places.
Randy Pilarcik, the commission's officer in eastern Butler County, said he saw fewer hunters than he expected, especially given the mild weather.
He suspected that might be a result of what deer are legal to take at this time. Across most of the state, only bucks, antlered deer, are legal game through Friday. Antlerless deer, or does, become legal Saturday.
”I'm expecting there to be a lot more people out Saturday,” Pilarcik said.
He said he saw a nice 8-point buck taken in Lancaster Township, near Zelionople.
Matt Kramer, officer in southern Beaver County, similarly said he saw more hunters in the portion of his district that lies in wildlife management unit 2B, where hunters can take deer of either sex, than in unit 2A, where only bucks are legal. But pressure was “relatively limited” everywhere, he said.
Several officers commented on was how hunters stayed in the woods late into the day.
That was evident at Northmoreland Park, near Apollo. Nathan Henry of Vandergrift and Chuck Goedicke of Oklahoma Borough were heading out there after 3 p.m. with a goal of staying until dark.
Goedicke had tags to shoot a deer of either sex, and said he wasn't picky.
“Some guys are trophy hunters. I'm a meat eater,” he said. “You can't eat a rack.”
Yasko, too, was sticking it out to see what might happen.
“I hope something works in my favor,” he said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter@bobfryeoutdoors.

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