LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission are being urged to expand deer hunting opportunities in the commonwealth.
Deer were the game species most talked about Sunday at the start of the commission's annual winter meeting in Harrisburg, Lancaster Newspapers reported (http://bit.ly/1f6hikI ).
Farmers complained in a survey about "a tremendous amount of deer damage," said Jeff Grove, local affairs director for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
He asked commissioners to consider opening the firearms deer season on Thanksgiving weekend, rather than on the following Monday, saying it would allow more people - especially youngsters - the chance to hunt deer.
"The number of schools that close for the opening of deer season is less and less each year," he said.
Grove said Pennsylvania always opens its archery deer season on a Saturday, and he suggested that the agency try doing the same in at least one of the commonwealth's 23 wildlife management units to test the idea.
Several foresters, timber company representatives and land managers from northwest Pennsylvania told commissioners that the agency's deer management program is working and encouraged commissioners to keep it moving forward
Susan Stout, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service, said the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative, which manages deer on about 74,000 acres in McKean County, has improved the health of the deer herd while improving habitat and keeping hunters interested in the area.
Ed Carter of the Collins Pine Co. said deer numbers are increasing in the area where the company operates its various forest-products ventures, but that has led to increased collisions between deer and vehicles. He urged the board to increase the antlerless deer license allocation for the area next season and double the firearms season from one week to two.
The board votes Tuesday on hunting seasons and bag limits for 2014-15. After allowing time for the public to comment, a final vote will be held at the panel's next meeting in April.
Information from: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era , http://lancasteronline.com