With Pennsylvania’s deer firearms season set to commence Saturday, this years firearm season will look different than in years past. Back in April the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners made changes to the annual season in an attempt to create increased opportunity.

The season will begin on Saturday, and run through December 11, expanding to Sunday hunting for Sunday, Nov. 28, closing only on Sunday, Dec. 5. In years past, Monday would be the inaugural start of the rifle season.

"Hunters have the opportunity to pursue large-racked bucks in numbers unlike anything we've seen in more than a century," Game Commission executive director Bryan Burhans said of the change. "We know that's important. In Pennsylvania and across the nation, hunters busy with family, work and school commitments consistently list lack of time as the biggest obstacle to getting into the woods.”

Last year hunters harvested an estimated 435,180 deer, coming in at 12 percent higher than the previous years harvest of 389,481. Last year was the highest harvest in 15 years and Pa. led the Northeastern states, without taking land mass into account.

This years opportunities include the chance to harvest an antlered or antlerless deer at any point throughout the 14-day season unlike last year when only 10 of the states 23 Wildlife Management Units allowed concurrent hunting throughout the entire season.

Another change to this years rifle season is the ability to use antlerless tags to get more of them if the allocation hasn’t been sold out. A hunter can now hold up up to nine antlerless license, as opposed to the previously allowed six. Some of the states WMU’s had antlerless tags still available as recent as last week.

“These changes address that and set the stage for folks to make some wonderful memories," Burhans said of the upcoming season.

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