The much awaited 2015-16 deer harvest numbers are in and they show some interesting findings. For one, the entire harvest of 315,813 increased about four percent over the 2014-15 harvest of 303,973. Of that number, 137,580 were antlered deer that reflected an increase of about 15 percent over the previous season’s harvest of 119,260. And that was resulted in a whopping 59 percent of bucks that were 2 years old or older, which makes it the highest percentage of adult bucks in the harvest in decades, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC).
As for antlerless deer, there were 178,233 taken in 2015-16, which represents about a four percent decrease compared to 184,713 taken in 2014-15 seasons. Are there less antlerless deer statewide or are hunters passing on doe in favor of big bucks? The PGC says that it’s most likely due to a decreased antlerless license allocation, however success rate was still about 25 percent which has been a predictable number. Travis Lau, PGC information officer, said that a reduced allocation within a Wildlife Management Unit allows deer numbers to grow there. “Records show it takes an allocation of about four antlerless licenses to harvest one antlerless deer,” said Lau.
Harvest estimates, says the PGC, were based on more than 24,000 deer checked by PGC personnel, and more than 100,000 harvest reports submitted by successful hunters. And because some hunters don’t report their harvests as they’re supposed to, the PGC has to estimate the harvest. However, the PGC said hunters’ reports increased slightly last year.
The antlerless harvest included about 63 percent adult females, about 20 percent button bucks and about 17 percent doe fawns. The results, according to the PGC, are similar to long-term averages.
The total deer harvest estimates for a local three WMU area are as follows, with 2014-15 in parenthesis for comparison. The “A” represents antlered deer and AL represents antlerless.
WMU 3D: 3,500 (4,200) A; 3,700 (5,200) AL
WMU 4C: 5,400 (4,800) A; 5,000 (5,000) AL
WMU 5C: 7,400 (8,000) A; 13,600 (22,200) AL
WMU 5D: 2,200 (1,300) A; 5,200 (3,800) AL
Unknown WMU: 80 (60) A; 30 (31) AL
The following is the breakdown per archery and muzzleloader harvests, and per antlered and antlerless deer:
WMU 3D: Archery, 1060 (1,350) A; 980 (960) AL; Muzzleloader, 40 (50) A; 520 (440) AL
WMU 4C: Archery, 2,150 (1,840) A; 1,380 (1,240) AL; Muzzleloader, 50 (60) A; 620 (660) AL
WMU 5C: Archery, 4,880 (4,790) A; 6,310 (10,210) AL; Muzzleloader 120 (110) A; 1,090 (1,490) AL
WMU 5D: Archery, 1,770 (990) A; 3,440 (2,730) AL
Unknown WMU: Archery 0 (40) A; 10 (0) AL; Muzzleloader, 0 (0) A; 0 (0) AL
That’s it for the past deer hunting seasons. A 4-percent increase is not a massacre and field reports show that restrictions are working by virtue of the larger racks that field reports indicate are being taken.
CABELA’S FISHING CLASSIC WEEKEND
If you’ve caught your limit of trout the weekend of April 16 and 17, you may want to stop at Cabela’s for their seminars and demonstrations. All will be presented by local fishing organizations and Cabela’s staff. The events are as follows:
SATURDAY APRIL 16
* Fly Tying: Outfitter Tom Coe shows the proper method and materials for tying your own flies, streamers and the patterns that will entice trout to bite. All materials will be supplied.
* Waders: Slip over to the Footwear Department and learn about the latest in waders and accessories that can keep you dry and comfy on your fishing trips. You’ll also learn the proper storage techniques for waders so they don’t crack and become moldy.
* Home Water Opportunities: The Fishing Department and its Fly Shop plus local clubs and organizations, will discuss hot spots for your area.
* Keeping Your Edge: No not your psychic, but your knives. The Cutlery Department will demonstrate the proper way to sharpen knives and show the ones that will simplify cleaning your fish. Free knife sharpening will be offered so bring your favorite blade.
* Fishing Tips & Tactics: The Fly Shop plus local clubs and organizations will describe regional and local fishing tactics. And will relate for the area you fish.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
* Fly Tying For Little Fingers: Outfitter Tom Coe will have youngsters tying fly patterns that will have them catching fish in one afternoon, promises Coe. This could be a life-long pursuit that gets kids away from smartphones, computer games and ball sports for some creative diversity. On both days kids can also learn the proper method for spin and fly casting with equipment provided for the youngsters.
* Pan Fishing: Outfitters in the Fishing Department will show what lures and bait to use to catch some bluegills and sunnies be it on a farm pond or lake, for a summer afternoon of fun.
* Proper Fishing Wear: With melanoma becoming a fatal and debilitating condition for folks today, the Casual Department will show how to stay cool and be protected from the suns’ harmful rays. Cabela’s Guide Wear Series of outerwear helps prevent this dreaded condition.
* Bass Busters: Be it large or smallmouth bass, Cabela’s outfitters will help you choose gear, tackle, show how to read productive waters, learn weather patterns, all for specific bodies of water and for both species.
* From Water to Grill: Watch and learn the proper method for filleting your catch as demonstrated by the folks from Limestone Springs Trout Hatchery. Using trout from their hatchery, there will be filleting demonstrations every 15 minutes. At the same time, personnel from the Camping Department will show how to properly grill those fish for a tasty meal.
For exact times of each seminar and event, check Cabelas.com/Hamburg. They’ll make for an informative and interesting weekend.