Pennsylvania Archery Deer Season Begins October 1

All any hunter can ask for is an opportunity. The opportunity to get away, the opportunity to look for game, the opportunity to perhaps complete a beacon.

The upcoming archery deer season in Pennsylvania offers all of this over a period of nearly two months.

But then, it’s no secret. Many hunters – more than 330,000 each year – realize its potential and head out into the woods, bow in hand.

The 2022-23 statewide archery season runs from October 1 through November 12, continues through Sunday, November 13, and then runs from November 14 through November 18. She returns from December 26 to January 16, 2023.

Archers pursuing white-tailed deer in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5C, and 5D, around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively, can start hunting two weeks earlier, get an extra Sunday, and can go later in 2023. The archery season in these WMUs runs from 1 September. November 17-12, continues Sunday, November 13, goes November 14-19, continues a second Sunday, November 20, and goes November 21-25. It returns on December 26 and goes until January 28, 2023.

“Archery deer season in Pennsylvania is an amazing time to be in the field,” said Game Commission executive director Bryan Burhans. “With the vibrant colors of fall and increasingly cooler temperatures as a backdrop, the season gives hunters the chance to hunt white-tailed deer before, during and after peak rut. It is clear that hunters appreciate this opportunity and take advantage of it.

Indeed, resident archery license sales hit an all-time high in 2020 and – while declining slightly from that peak – still reached 341,885 in 2021. This is the second-highest total highest sales in the last twelve years.

Sales of non-resident archery licenses reflect this trend, with a total of 19,099 in 2021, only surpassing the 2020 record of 19,164.

They aren’t the only archers in the woods, either. Junior and senior lifetime combined license holders can also take part in the archery season and, with senior combined licenses at record levels, surely countless numbers are doing so.

Opportunity surely has something to do with it. The Game Commission has added a seventh week to the statewide archery season in 2020, providing more flexibility and a chance to hunt deeper into whitetail breeding season. Hunters will again take advantage of this extra time this year.

Last season, hunters harvested approximately 130,650 deer during archery season (68,580 antlered, 62,070 antlerless). The first week was the most productive for antlerless deer, weeks five and six the most productive for antlered deer.

This archery harvest is important to deer management statewide, in all WMUSs, without being too important, said David Stainbrook, chief of the Game Commission’s deer and elk section. He pointed out that many archers are also rifle hunters. If they take a deer during archery season, they simply take advantage of the available seasons and fill in their tags earlier in the fall.

“We continuously monitor our deer harvest to ensure our goals and objectives are consistently met in each WMU,” Stainbrook said.

Opportunity doesn’t automatically equal success, however, so to help hunters get the most out of archery season, The Game Commission offers some reminders and tips.

Bow hunters can use long, recurve or compound bows, or crossbows. Bows must have a draw weight of at least 35 pounds; crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds.

Earnest A. Martinez