HARRISBURG—State forestlands and state parks again will participate in a program that offers white-tailed deer hunters expanded hunting opportunities across Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan announced today.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission's Deer Management Assistance Program, or DMAP, allows landowners to apply for permits to encourage antlerless harvests on their property, enabling DCNR and private landowners to more effectively manage white-tailed deer populations and curtail damage to forests and crops.
DCNR enrolled 899,171 acres in DMAP for 2012 and sought 14,160 permits. On these state forest and park tracts, including 91,889 acres of parkland, hunters with a valid tag may harvest additional antlerless whitetails. DCNR received 13,897 permits for 916,435 acres in 2011.
DCNR's DMAP strategy continues to take into account shortened antlerless deer seasons in a number of Game Commission Wildlife Management Units.
"Hunters using DMAP in these areas gain an additional week of antlerless hunting opportunities," Allan noted. "This is an advantage for hunters who can only make it to camp or hunt certain areas the first week of the season. Hunting these designated areas enable them to maximize their hunting opportunities."
Habitat conditions continue to guide DCNR's DMAP participation. Moshannon State Forest District, for instance, withdrew from the program this year because of improved forest regeneration, previously impacted by deer. Susquehannock State Forest District withdrew two areas from DMAP participation after habitat improvement was noted.
Conversely, Gallitzin State Forest District has increased the number of permits it is requesting because for the past several years it has noted increased deer impact on district forestlands.
"By focusing DMAP antlerless harvests in our other 15 forest districts and some of our state parks, hunters can help balance deer populations with available habitat, and promote healthy forests and healthy deer while enjoying quality hunting experiences," Allan said.
Besides Moshannon, the Tuscarora, Weiser, Cornplanter and William Penn state forest districts again will not be enrolled in DMAP.
"DMAP and the hunters who use it have been invaluable allies in these forested areas where we are seeing habitat improvement," said Bureau of Forestry Daniel Devlin. "Where we have seen decades of deer impact, DMAP is a needed forest-management tool to help those areas recover.
"As always, DCNR's use of DMAP is guided by the department's belief deer are an integral part of a healthy forest ecosystem and a tremendous asset for the state."
State park DMAP hunting areas can be found this year at: Bald Eagle, Centre County; Beltzville, Carbon County; Blue Knob, Bedford County; Canoe Creek, Blair County; Codorus, York County; Cook Forest, Clarion County; Gifford Pinchot, York County; Hickory Run, Carbon County; Keystone, Westmoreland County; Kings Gap, Cumberland County; Moraine, Butler; Nescopeck, Luzerne County; Ohiopyle, Fayette County; Oil Creek, Venango County; Presque Isle, Erie; Prince Gallitzin, Cambria County; Raccoon Creek, Beaver County; Ricketts Glen, Luzerne County; Ryerson Station, Greene County; Shawnee, Bedford County; and Tobyhanna, Monroe County.
Permits can be obtained directly from license issuing agents or the Game Commission website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Hunters no longer may apply at forest district or park offices, or on the DCNR website. However, DCNR does offer tract locations and maps, availability numbers, past hunter success rates and other information online at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/deer/dmap/index.htm.
For more details, contact the Bureau of Forestry's Ecological Services Section at 717-787-3444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.