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Pennsylvania Deer Hunting: Seasons, Limits, and More Details

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Pennsylvania might not have the biggest bucks in the United States, but we sure do love our deer hunting.

You'd be hard-pressed to argue a better place to deer hunt these days than the state of Pennsylvania. Maybe they don't reach monster size, but there are a lot of them, and we love it that way.

In fact, Pennsylvania has the highest hunter density of any state in the country. But if you're willing to hike in earlier and farther than the orange army, some decent hunting may await you.

Hunting Regulations for Pennsylvania Deer Hunting

In 2002, the Pennsylvania Game Commission instituted new antler restrictions, requiring a minimum of three or four points - depending on the area of the state - measuring 3 inches in length on at least one side for any antlered deer harvest. This was updated to a three-point restriction statewide in 2011.

The hunting license year in Pennsylvania typically runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. A resident hunting license costs $20.90, which includes an antlered deer tag. Add-on archery and muzzleloader licenses must be purchased, and hunters can apply for antlerless licenses for $6 each. A non-resident hunting license will run you $101.90, plus add-ons which are more expensive for out-of-staters.

During firearms seasons, hunters must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange, which measures out to a hat and vest.

Due to the spread of chronic wasting disease, the PGC has several ever-changing CWD guidelines in place. Be sure to check current regulations before transporting whitetail deer in and out of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Deer Seasons & Bag Limits

Deer Hunting the Rut

Pennsylvania is divided into 23 wildlife management units, with hunting seasons and bag limits varying across these WMU lines. Pennsylvania hunters can only take one antlered deer per year statewide, while each antlerless license or permit allows for an antlerless deer.

The Pennsylvania deer season kicks off with an archery-only season, beginning on September 19 in select WMUs and October 3 statewide in 2021. Archery season closes in a portion of the state until the 2-week firearm season opens on November 28, with the first week being an "antlered deer only" period in much of the state. Pennsylvania also has special muzzleloader, youth, and late archery seasons.

2020 marked the first season with Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania on three days selected by the PGC. Two of these Sundays fell during deer season - one during archery deer and one during the regular firearms deer season. Hunters must obtain written permission for Sunday hunting on private land, but those hunting on state game lands (public lands) have no such restrictions.

Pennsylvania deer hunters can also apply for deer management assistance program (DMAP) tags for antlerless deer, which allow them to take additional deer on participating private lands to help landowners better manage their properties.

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Pennsylvania Deer Hunting: Seasons, Limits, and More Details