When it comes to the deer population in Wildlife Management Unit 3D, a change was needed. The unit, which includes all of Monroe and Pike counties and parts of Wayne, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Carbon and Northampton, has 13.9 deer per square mile - the second lowest figure in the state according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
On Monday, the PGC Board of Commissioners took a big step to improve deer numbers in WMU 3D when they voted to cut the antlerless license allocation by 7,000 for the upcoming hunting season.
Last year 39,000 antlerless licenses were issued for WMU 3D. This year that number is 32,000.
“I think we needed some radical thinking for 3D,” said commissioner Jay Delaney, who represents the northeast region. “If you have a WMU with the second lowest population in the state, it has to be fixed.”
Delaney said the post-hunting season deer population in WMU 3D this year is 29,225 - down almost 2,000 from 2012.
Four of the five WMU’s in the northeast region saw their antlerless license allocations lowered. The biggest decrease was in WMU 4C with a drop from 35,000 last year to 27,000.
“I’m hoping sportsmen realize we’re trying to be responsive to their concerns,” Delaney said, adding that large landholders such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources can still utilize the DMAP program if they feel deer numbers are too high on their property.
Here’s a breakdown of the antlerless license allocation for the northeast:
WMU 3B - 39,000, a decrease of 1,000; “It’s all going in a positive direction and the forest health in this unit is one of the best in the state,” Delaney said. “The program is working and I see a lot of positive things happening there.”
WMU 3C - 35,000, same as last year; “The population is going up and the forest health is still going in a positive direction,” Delaney said.
WMU 3D - 32,000, a decrease of 7,000 from last year.
WMU 4C - 27,000, a decrease of 8,000 from last year.
WMU 4E - 26,000, a decrease of 2,000 from last year. “We also had a big allocation reduction in this unit a few years ago,” Delaney said.
Fisher season expanded to the northeast
The board approved a motion to expand the fisher trapping season to WMU’s 3A, 3D and 4E. Delaney said trappers have been asking for a fisher season in the northeast and fisher sighting continue to increase in the region.
Added time for pheasants
The board approved a change to add three weeks to the end of the late season for pheasants. For the 2013-14 hunting season, pheasants will remain open until Feb. 22, along with rabbits and squirrels. “The game farm birds are released to be hunted,” Delaney said. “Hunters pursuing rabbits in February are seeing pheasants, and this is an effective way to use the resource.”