Pa. Game Commission gives tentative approval to Saturday opener for firearms buck season

Pennsylvania hunters may soon be able to hunt buck with firearms on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The opening day of the firearms buck hunting season in Pennsylvania may move to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

Traditionally, firearms buck season opens on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, however, the Pennsylvania Game Commission tentatively approved moving the opening date to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The proposal, which garnered unanimous tentative approval from the commissioners, states that opening the season on Saturday fits better with the schedules of younger hunters who have to work or attend school on Monday.

As proposed, deer hunting with firearms would begin this year on Nov. 30, a Saturday, and continue through Dec. 6 for bucks only. From Dec. 7-14, hunters could shoot deer with or without antlers. The new deer season would cover 13 days, including three Saturdays.

The change will take effect if the commissioners approve it a second time at their meeting in April.

Among other changes given tentative approval on Tuesday were:

►Simplifying requirements to wear fluorescent orange material while hunting. The use of orange will continue to be highly recommended for all seasons, whether required or not.

►Shortening to two days the late November turkey seasons to accommodate a Saturday firearms deer opener.

►Expanding the mid-October muzzleloader and special firearms deer seasons to include bears statewide.

►Increasing to two weeks the length of the statewide archery bear season and shifting it to the two weeks following the muzzleloader and special firearms bear seasons.

►Expanding four-day extended bear seasons to six days in most wildlife management units (WMUs) where they are held.

►Establishing a September archery season and a January antlerless season for elk hunters.

►Expanding the opportunities to hunt with semiautomatic rifles.

The public may offer comments on all proposed 2019-20 rules, as well as other board actions, between now and the board’s next quarterly meeting, when 2019-20 seasons and bag limits will be finalized, and antlerless license allocations will be determined.

The board’s next quarterly meeting is scheduled to be held April 8 and 9 at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters.