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It’s Time to Purchase PA Antlerless Tags to Hunt Deer and Potentially Help Others (Part 2 of 2)

Weekly Bargain Bulletin

Edition 2569

July 16, 2021

Outdoor Opportunities

By COL(Ret.) Grey D. Berrier II

It’s Time to Purchase PA Antlerless Tags to Hunt Deer and Potentially Help Others (Part 2 of 2)


   One phrase which you hear quite frequently is “game changer”. When it comes to athletic contests, some rule changes literally are game changers. A well-known example was when the NFL moved the goal posts back ten-yards from the goal line to the end line in 1974. Since hunters pursue a wide variety of furred and feathered game, I guess we could also say alterations the PA Game Commission makes to the rules, regulations, or seasons hunters must abide by afield are literal game changers too!

One of the most significant changes for the PA 2021-22 hunting seasons concerns which WMUs you can now obtain multiple antlerless tags from to reach your maximum of six permissible. (Before the new rule of having to fill doe tags to purchase more than six kicks in.) In the past, hunters were restricted to a maximum of three antlerless tags, not including DMAP tags, from twenty WMUs (other than WMUs 2B, 5C, & 5D); and then any additional antlerless tags from number four, up to as many as a hunter desired to purchase, had to be in the more urban WMUs 2B, 5C, or 5D. Here’s an example of how this new rule will be applied. Let’s say a PA resident hunter put in for their first WMU 1A (our area) antlerless license when county treasures started accepting applications on Jul. 12, 2021. Since the PA Hunting & Trapping Digest informs us WMU 1A did not sell out last year until 10/15/2020, our PA resident hunter plans on putting in for their second WMU 1A doe tag on Aug. 2, 2021 during the 1st round of unsold licenses and their third WMU 1A antlerless tag on Aug. 16, 2021 during the second round of unsold licenses. Under the old rules, our PA resident hunter would have been maxed out on WMU 1A antlerless tags at three.

However, under the new antlerless license regulations, when Mon., Sep. 13, 2021 rolls around and over-the-counter sales become available at county treasurer’s offices, a hunter can purchase, either in person or by mail, three additional antlerless licenses for WMUs where licenses remain when their applications are received. This means if WMU 1A antlerless licenses are still available come Sep. 13, 2021, then there may be some hunters who purchase a total of six WMU 1A tags for the first time ever. However, one thing to keep in mind is while WMU 1A tags were available up to 10/15 last year, this year’s WMU 1A allocation has been decreased 9,000 (from 49,000 down to 40,000), so additional WMU 1A tags may or may not be available come Sep. 13, 2021. We’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out this year. This option of purchasing licenses for any WMU where licenses remain come Sep. 13, 2021 may alter some hunters’ “gamesmanship” when selecting WMUs in the three earlier rounds (Jul. 12/ Aug. 2/ Aug. 16).

   Now, whether you are a hunter or nonhumter, you may be thinking, “Why would anyone want to purchase multiple antlerless tags? Isn’t one doe enough for the freezer?” Well, the answer is maybe, maybe not. Every hunter’s situation is different, depending upon how many individuals are in the household and how often they eat venison. With an average deer providing 50-lbs. of fresh venison, I know families of six (husband/wife/four small children) where if dad gets seven deer, a buck and six does, roughly 350 lbs. of venison, they will go through all the meat in a year, since that’s their primary protein source. I learned a long time ago to never judge anyone else on the quantity of deer they’re legally harvesting, because you never know who is depending upon that venison for their next meal.

Please allow me to speak to those hunters out there, men and women, who love to hunt deer, but who know they’re not going to consume any or all of it. Maybe you have family members who don’t eat venison. Possibly, your children are grown and out-of-the-house. Whatever your circumstances, if you like to hunt deer and there are reasonable odds you’ll be successful in harvesting a deer, I want to implore you to purchase one or more additional antlerless tags beyond what you would typically buy. Please allow me to explain. If you’re a regular reader, you might remember back on Dec. 11, 2020, the day before the last day of the PA 2020 regular firearms deer season, I did a piece titled, “Consider Helping Others in Need Right Now Through Your Hunting Efforts,” which elaborated on the voluntary Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program in PA; where hunters can donate deer to help feed those in need. Call it fate or God’s will, but shortly after I wrote that outdoor column, I received a call from Randy Ferguson, the Incoming HSH Executive Director, asking me to become HSH’s new Lawrence County Coordinator, a previously unfilled position. Next week, I’ll give details how we, as deer hunters, can potentially help feed others in need through Hunters Sharing the Harvest! God Bless, Be Safe, and Great Outdoors!