Hunting in Pennsylvania is a beloved outdoor activity for many. From its lush forests to sprawling fields, the Keystone State offers an ideal habitat for diverse wildlife – making it perfect for tracking down deer, elk, turkey, and bears. Every year, hunters of all stripes flock here to take part in different seasons regulated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
In this detailed guide, we have covered everything you should know about hunting in Pennsylvania. We discuss the species you can hunt, the best places to hunt them, license information, and hunting seasons in this article.
What Can You Hunt in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania is an ideal destination for avid hunters. Home to an array of game species, there’s something here for everyone – from the seasoned hunter to the novice. The white-tailed deer is one of the state’s more iconic inhabitants and they always make tracking them down an exciting challenge.
Black bears, turkeys, coyotes, and smaller critters like rabbits and squirrels also inhabit this state giving you plenty of options when it comes to hunting expeditions. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese add another element with their presence near Pennsylvania’s many lakes and rivers.
But if you’re looking for something extra special, then join an elk hunt! With only limited tags available each year, it truly makes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
The white-tailed deer is one of the most coveted game animals in Pennsylvania. With its stunning white tail and graceful movements, it’s no wonder why hunters from all over seek to capture these majestic creatures. Not only are they prized for their beauty but also for their delicious meat.
Pennsylvania boasts a strong population of white-tailed deer that numbers around 1.5 million individuals – thanks to its diverse terrain which provides an outstanding habitat for them. From dense forests to open fields, there’s plenty of room for these animals to thrive!
When it comes down to hunting this species in the Keystone State, you’ll have several options at your disposal – whether you prefer bowhunting or rifle hunting, both can be utilized throughout the season; archery typically begins in October, and rifle season follows shortly after in November.
However, before heading out into the woods, don’t forget about acquiring permits as well as familiarizing yourself with state regulations on hunting ethics and responsibilities.
If you’re looking forward to a successful hunt, keep patience close by at all times; white-tailed deer possess incredible intelligence along with sharp senses making them quite challenging prey indeed.
Deer Season Pennsylvania
|Archery (Antlered & Antlerless)||30 Sep – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 17 Nov, 26 Dec – 15 Jan||Statewide|
|Archery (Antlered & Antlerless)||16 Sep – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 26 Dec – 27 Jan||WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D|
|Muzzleloader (Antlerless)||14 Oct – 21 Oct||Statewide|
|Special Firearms (Antlerless)||19 Oct – 21 Oct||Statewide|
|Regular Firearms (Antlerless)||25 Nov, 26 Nov, 27 Nov – 09 Dec||Statewide|
|Flintlock (Antlered or Antlerless)||26 Dec – 27 Jan||Specific WMUs|
|Extended Regular Firearms (Antlerless)||26 Dec – 27 Jan||WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D|
Hunting for elk in Pennsylvania is an unforgettable experience that many seasoned hunters seek. Home to the largest free-roaming population of elk east of the Mississippi River, consisting of over 1,000 individuals in four counties; Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, and Clinton – this area provides a challenging yet thrilling hunting opportunity.
From September to November, you can find yourself immersed in nature trying your best to take down one of these majestic beasts armed with only knowledge, preparation, and skill. It won’t be easy though as they are known for their sharp senses and agility – making them difficult targets even for experienced hunters.
But don’t let that deter you! With enough research into their behavior and habitat, plus some top-notch gear, you could easily increase your chances at success. And if all goes well? You will walk away with not just a trophy animal but also memories that will last forever!
Elk Season PA
|General||30 Oct – 04 Nov||1 Elk per license year with permit|
|Archery||16 Sep – 30 Sep||1 Elk per license year with permit|
|Late Season||30 Dec – 06 Jan||1 Elk per license year with permit|
At over 200 to 600 pounds, the black bear – also known as Ursus americanus – is an incredibly adaptable species found across Pennsylvania. Boasting a healthy population of around 20,000 individuals and thanks to successful conservation efforts and responsible hunting practices, these magnificent creatures can be tracked down in their natural environments like dense forests or suburban areas.
For those looking into hunting black bears in PA, there are several rules set by the Game Commission that must be followed – from obtaining a license to abiding by guidelines for baiting and harvesting.
It’s also essential to come prepared with all the right gear since safety should always take precedence when out searching for one of these animals during its open season (October-December).
Black Bear Season Pennsylvania
|Firearms (Statewide)||18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 21 Nov|
|Extended Firearms (WMU 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4E, 5A)||25 Nov, 26 Nov, 27 Nov – 02 Dec|
|Extended Firearms (WMU 2B, 5B, 5C, 5D)||25 Nov, 26 Nov, 27 Nov – 09 Dec|
|Muzzleloader (Statewide)||14 Oct – 21 Oct|
|Special Firearms (Statewide)||19 Oct – 21 Oct|
|Archery (WMU 2B, 5C, 5D)||16 Sep – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov|
|Archery (WMU 5B)||30 Sep – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 17 Nov|
|Archery (Specific WMUs)||14 Oct – 04 Nov|
The wild turkey population in Pennsylvania has been on the rise for years, thanks to successful conservation efforts. This means plenty of possibilities for hunters looking to track down these wily birds. From the Alleghenies’ rolling hills to the Poconos’ dense forests, there’s no shortage of great spots around this state.
Hunting turkeys in PA is a breeze since you can use any method you like – shotguns and bows are both fair game! Nothing beats calling one in and watching him strut his stuff before taking your shot; it’s an experience that never gets old.
Wild Turkey Season Pennsylvania
|Fall Wild Turkey||28 Oct – 04 Nov||1A, 1B, 4A, 4B, 4D, 4E|
|Fall Wild Turkey||28 Oct – 27 Nov, 22 Nov – 24 Nov||2B|
|Fall Wild Turkey||28 Oct – 11 Nov||2A, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C|
|Fall Wild Turkey||28 Oct – 11 Nov, 22 Nov – 24 Nov||2C, 2D, 2E|
|Fall Wild Turkey||31 Oct – 02 Nov||5B|
|Spring Gobbler||04 May – 18 May, 20 May – 31 May||Bag Limit: 01 per day|
|Spring Gobbler (Youth)||27 Apr||Bag Limit: 01 per day|
Raccoons are unmistakable with their distinctive black masks and ringed tails. They can reach up to three feet in length, weighing anywhere from 10-30 pounds. Omnivorous by nature, these creatures have a diverse diet ranging from fruits and nuts to insects, small mammals, and even garbage!
In Pennsylvania, you can find raccoons living in various habitats including forests, wetlands, and urban areas – all of which they’re adept at navigating due to their excellent climbing skills.
Despite this adaptability though, it’s important to remember that raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals when one goes out hunting them. Intelligent beings with an incredible sense of smell and hearing; these furry critters also possess the remarkable ability to wash food before consumption, hence the nickname ‘washing bear’.
Raccoon Season PA
|Raccoon||21 Oct – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 25 Nov, 26 Nov, 27 Nov – 17 Feb||No Limit|
The red fox is one of the most iconic species found in Pennsylvania. These beautiful animals can be seen roaming throughout the state from the Alleghenies to Amish country. They are renowned for their intelligence and adaptability which makes them difficult prey to hunt.
One of the best spots for hunting these crafty creatures is near Lake Erie where they often find food around farm fields or hide away in thick underbrush. Hunting foxes requires patience and skill but when you manage to get a successful shot, it’s a thrilling feeling!
It’s important however, that we not forget why we should respect these creatures: they play an essential role in keeping our forests healthy by controlling rodent populations and balancing out nature’s delicate ecosystem.
|Fox||21 Oct – 17 Feb||No Limit|
Coyotes are part of the canine family. Often mistaken as wolves or domestic dogs, they have pointed snouts, large ears, and bushy tails that make them unique. Color-wise, these critters range from gray to reddish-brown in hue.
Highly adaptive creatures, coyotes can live in both rural and urban locations with ease. They’re also amazing hunters who prey on small mammals such as rodents and birds; they’ll even consume fruits and vegetables when necessary!
If you plan on hunting one of these elusive animals for sport, then it’s essential to understand their habits so you can be successful: Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk – perfect times for a hunt! As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge already, these animals boast excellent senses of sight, scent, and hearing which makes them formidable adversaries.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania allows year-round hunting without any bag limits but still remember to check out local regulations before heading out.
Coyote Season in Pennsylvania
|Coyote||01 Jan – 31 Dec||No Limit|
|Cottontail Rabbit||14 Oct – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 23 Dec, 26 Dec – 29 Feb||4 per day|
|Snowshoe Hare||26 Dec – 01 Jan||1 per day|
|Opossum||Jan 01 – 31 Dec (No Hunting on Sunday)||No Limit|
|Striped Skunk||Jan 01 – 31 Dec (No Hunting on Sunday)||No Limit|
|Weasel||Jan 01 – 31 Dec (No Hunting on Sunday)||No Limit|
|Porcupine||07 Oct – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 23 Dec, 26 Dec – 27 Jan||3 per day|
|Bobcat||06 Jan – 31 Jan||1 per license|
|Trapping Season||16 Dec – 31 Dec||1 per license|
River Otter Season
|Trapping Season||10 Feb – 17 Feb||1 per license|
|Trapping Season||18 Nov – 07 Jan||No Limit|
|Trapping Season||18 Nov – 07 Jan||No Limit|
|Trapping Season||16 Dec – 31 Dec||Limits vary per WMU|
|Ring-necked Pheasant||21 Oct – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 23 Dec, 26 Dec – 29 Feb||2 per day|
|Bobwhite Quail||01 Sep – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 23 Dec, 26 Dec – 30 Mar||No Limit|
|Squirrel||09 Sep – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 23 Dec, 26 Dec – 29 Feb||6 per day|
Duck & Sea Duck Season
|North Zone||07 Oct – 21 Oct, 14 Nov – 06 Jan||6 per day|
|South Zone||07 Oct – 14 Oct, 21 Nov – 20 Jan||6 per day|
|Northwest Zone||07 Oct – 02 Dec, 26 Dec – 07 Jan||6 per day|
|Lake Erie Zone||07 Nov – 13 Jan||6 per day|
|North Zone||07 Oct – 21 Oct, 14 Nov – 14 Dec, 15 Dec – 06 Jan||1 or 2 depending on dates|
|South Zone||07 Oct – 14 Oct, 21 Nov – 28 Dec, 29 Dec – 20 Jan||1 or 2 depending on dates|
|Northwest Zone||07 Oct – 22 Nov, 23 Nov – 02 Dec, 26 Dec – 06 Jan||1 or 2 depending on dates|
|Lake Erie Zone||06 Nov – 28 Nov, 29 Nov – 13 Jan||1 or 2 depending on dates|
Coot & Merganser Season
|North Zone||07 Oct – 21 Oct, 14 Nov – 06 Jan||Mergansers: 5 Coot: 15|
|South Zone||07 Oct -14 Oct, 21 Nov – 20 Jan||Mergansers: 5 Coot: 15|
|Northwest Zone||07 Oct – 02 Dec, 26 Dec – 07 Jan||Mergansers: 5 Coot: 15|
|Lake Erie Zone||07 Nov – 13 Jan||Mergansers: 5 Coot: 15|
|Canada Goose (Resident Population Goose Zone)||01 Sep – 25 Sep, 28 Oct – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 20 Jan, 02 Feb – 24 Feb||5 or 8 depending on dates|
|Canada Goose (Atlantic Population Zone)||01 Sep – 25 Sep, 18 Nov – 24 Nov, 07 Dec – 20 Jan||3 or 8 depending on dates|
|Brant (All Zones)||14 Oct – 17 Nov||1 per day|
|Light Geese (Atlantic Population Zone)||Regular: 02 Oct – 27 Jan
Conservation Hunt: 29 Jan – 26 Apr
|25 per day|
|Light Geese (Resident Population Zone)||Regular: 24 Oct – 24 Feb
Conservation Hunt: 26 Feb – 26 Apr
|25 per day|
|Ruffed Grouse||14 Oct – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 23 Dec||2 per day|
|Woodchuck||01 Jul – 11 Nov, 12 Nov, 13 Nov – 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 29 Jun||No Limit|
|Woodcock||14 Oct – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 20 Dec||3 per day|
|Crow||24 Aug – 24 Mar||No Limit|
|Gallinule||01 Sep – 21 Nov||3 per day|
|Dove||01 Sep – 24 Nov, 19 Dec – 06 Jan||15 per day|
|Virginia & Sora Rail||01 Sep – 21 Nov||3 per day|
|Common Snipe||14 Oct – 24 Nov, 11 Dec – 20 Dec||8 per day|
|Sparrow||No Closed Season||No Limit|
Pennsylvania Hunting License Information
Hunting in Pennsylvania is an activity that people of all ages can enjoy. No matter if you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, it’s important to remember that everyone needs to have a valid hunting license before they get out into the field.
For those looking for general small game like rabbits, squirrels, and pheasants – you’ll need a basic hunting license that covers these species. If your sights are set higher on larger game such as bear or deer, then you will need additional tags for each species hunted.
There are also special licenses available specifically tailored towards turkey and waterfowl hunters as well as archery or muzzleloader enthusiasts who want something more challenging than traditional forms of hunting.
Getting hold of one isn’t complicated either! All residents and non-residents alike can purchase their permits through the Pennsylvania Game Commission website online. Alternatively, there are agents located throughout the state where licenses can be bought from too – just make sure you bring along some identification with proof of residence status so fees aren’t miscalculated!
Do take note though, that anyone convicted of certain wildlife violations may not qualify for licensure in PA while any revoked privileges from another state may result in denial too.
Plus if this is your first time going after wild prey, then don’t forget about completing Hunter Education courses; covering firearm safety, conservation tips & ethical practices – it’s essential knowledge even experienced outdoorsmen should familiarize themselves with now and again.
Where Can You Hunt in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has many places to hunt. One popular spot is the state game lands, which are big open areas managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Here, hunters can find animals like deer, turkeys, and bears.
Another place to hunt is on private lands, but you need the owner’s permission. There are also big state forests in Pennsylvania for hunting, like Tiadaghton, Sproul, and Michaux forests. These places are wild and can be fun for hunters. Pennsylvania also has areas called wildlife management units (WMUs) with special rules for hunting different animals.
Public Hunting Places in Pennsylvania
Allegheny National Forest
Hunting in the Allegheny National Forest is a truly rewarding experience – one that offers an abundance of public lands and diverse terrain for you to explore. Spanning over 500,000 acres, this area presents hunters with rolling hills, dense forests, and open fields – prime habitats for animals like white-tailed deer, black bear, turkey, and smaller critters like rabbits or squirrels. But be warned: elusive predators such as coyotes and bobcats make their homes here too.
If you’re looking to extend your hunt beyond a day trip, there are plenty of primitive camping sites around the forest; however, if you prefer someone guiding your way along the 300 miles of designated trails, then look no further than professional outfitters located nearby who can help plan out your perfect hunting adventure.
It’s also important to remember safety first when setting off on any pursuit so make sure to brush up on all rules related before going out into those wild woods! Don’t forget all the necessary supplies including maps and compasses plus enough water & food.
Keystone State Park
Straddling the heart of Pennsylvania, Keystone State Park offers an abundance of diverse landscapes and wildlife for hunters to explore. With its wooded forests, grassy fields, and brimming wetlands – this outdoor haven is home to a wide array of game species like deer, turkey, bear, and small critters such as rabbits and squirrels.
For those looking to score their trophy buck in Keystone’s lush terrain – you’re in luck! This park boasts a healthy population of white-tailed deer with strict management practices that ensure success on your hunt. The park also extends special youth hunts along with disabled hunts so everyone can get involved in this cherished activity.
If you prefer something more challenging than big game hunting, then try out turkey hunting here at Keystone State Park. It takes strategy and patience to outwit these wary birds amidst the rolling hillsides covered by thick vegetation – but it’ll all be worth it when you hear that gobble before pulling off your shot!
Small game lovers will find plenty too: brush up on your flushing skills while chasing after ducks or geese around one of the many ponds throughout the area, or test yourself against skittish rabbits darting across open fields where they are sure not to miss any predators lurking nearby.
Yellow Creek State Park
Yellow Creek State Park, situated in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, spans over 3,000 acres, encompassing rolling hills and dense forests, creating diverse habitats for game species.
Among the most prevalent game is the white-tailed deer, best hunted during the archery season in October and November, though December’s firearms season is also productive. Wild turkeys are another highlight, especially hunted during their spring mating season.
The park offers abundant small game like squirrels, rabbits, and grouse, catering to novice and experienced hunters. Beyond hunting, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with its striking landscapes providing an escape from the daily grind.
Safety is important; hunters are advised to wear blaze orange for visibility and to be constantly vigilant. You should check the park’s visitor center for detailed hunting zones and maps.
Locust Lake State Park
Locust Lake State Park in Pennsylvania spans over 1,000 acres, offering diverse hunting terrains from dense woods to open fields. It’s ideal for both new and experienced hunters.
White-tailed deer are a primary attraction due to their abundant population and the park’s successful management practices. Hunters can also target small game like turkeys, squirrels, and rabbits.
The park prioritizes wildlife habitat maintenance and sustainability for future generations. Also, they provide educational programs on responsible hunting and conservation. Special zones for archery and muzzleloader hunting are available for seasoned hunters, presenting a unique challenge.
Leonard Harrison State Park
As one of the most popular hunting spots in the Keystone State, Leonard Harrison State Park welcomes experienced and novice hunters alike. This 585-acre park offers a unique landscape ranging from rolling hills to dense forests and open fields – providing the perfect habitat for an abundance of game species.
If you’re looking for an exciting hunt, white-tailed deer are plentiful here with healthy bucks roaming around every corner. Although they can be quite elusive, it’s still a rewarding experience when you manage to bag your limit!
Wild turkeys also call this park home; their distinct gobble echoing through the trees is truly unforgettable. And if small game hunting is more your thing, rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, and grouse all offer plenty of opportunities too!
Before heading out on any hunt at Leonard Harrison State Park, make sure you know all local regulations by obtaining necessary permits or licenses beforehand so you can enjoy hunting in Pennsylvania responsibly.
Private Hunting Places in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has many private hunting places with their own rules. These places are owned by people or groups. When hunting, you need to follow their rules to keep everyone and the animals safe.
Before you choose a place, think about the animals you want to hunt because different places have different animals. Some might have deer or turkey, and others might have special animals like elk.
Private hunting lands can be big or small. Bigger places have more choices, but smaller ones can be fun too. If you want to hunt at a popular place, book early because they fill up fast. Talk to the owner about what you need.
Make sure you have the right licenses and respect the property. Always tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. Know the area well before you start hunting. And always remember: Safety first!