Hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania are still open until 2023

(WTAJ) — The holidays are here and 2022 is drawing to a close, but there’s still plenty of hunting going on in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania hunting license year is not even half over and there is much to do in the coming weeks and months.

The final 2022-2023 deer season begins on December 26th and runs alongside many small game and skinner seasons, giving plenty of options and opportunities.

hunt game

Three separate but simultaneous deer seasons begin after Christmas. Two of them — late archery season and flintlock season — are held across the state, but run for two more weeks in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C, and 5D. The other – the extended antlerless deer hunting season – occurs only in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D.

These times of the year have slightly different requirements.

First, late archer and flintlock hunters can harvest a buck as well as antlerless stag as long as they have valid markings for both. A buck crop mark is included in a general license. As long as a hunter hasn’t filled in the token in previous seasons, it can be used to loot a buck in the late archery or flintlock season.

A flintlock hunter can also use a buck trailer to take down a deer with no antlers. In all other cases, a hunter must have a valid Antlered Deer License or Deer Management Assistance Program permit for each antlered deer they attempt to hunt. The exception applicable to flintlock hunters applies only to flintlock hunters and not to those hunting deer in other seasons.

For the extended firearms season, open only to antlerless deer capture, hunters must have a valid antlerless license or DMAP permit for each deer they attempt to capture.

While antlerless licenses have long since sold out for most WMUs, some licenses remain in WMUs 2B and 4A. Likewise, DMAP permits—which are only valid for the properties for which they were issued—remain available for some properties. Availability can be checked online at

In any case, deer hunters must have their paper harvest tags with them while hunting, as a tag must be attached to the ear of a killed stag before the stag is moved. Hunters buying tokens they plan to use soon are better off buying them direct from a dispensary than buying them online. Licenses purchased online are sent to the hunter, which means waiting for harvest labels to arrive. And without a valid paper harvest stamp, a hunter cannot lawfully hunt deer.

There are also separate fluorescent orange requirements for deer season after Christmas. Nationwide, archers and flintlock hunters are not required to wear fluorescent orange. Hunters participating in the extended firearms season must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on their head, chest and back combined that is viewable from 360 degrees at all times.

While orange isn’t required, the Game Commission strongly recommends the use of orange, especially when moving house and on public property.

The late archery and flintlock seasons run from December 26th to January 1st. 16 nationwide and Dec. 26-Jan. 28 in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D. The Extended Firearms Season runs from December 26th to January 28th.

small game hunting

Small game season resumed after firearm deer season. Hunting opportunities for squirrels, pheasants and rabbits, among others, are available now and after Christmas.

Pheasants have become perhaps the most sought after late season small game species. About 23,400 pheasants were released last week (December 14-16) and two more releases totaling 31,700 birds are scheduled for December 28-29. December and the 4th-5th scheduled for January.

Pheasant hunters are advised to consult for more information on late season pheasant releases as some of the sites that are stocked in the early season are not stocked in the post season.

In addition to a general license, pheasant hunters usually need a pheasant permit to hunt or harvest pheasants. The permit costs $26.97 and must be signed and carried when hunting pheasants. Junior hunters and supervised license holders under the age of 17 are eligible for a complimentary hunting license and must obtain one prior to hunting. Senior lifetime license holders who acquired their lifetime licenses prior to May 13, 2017 are exempt from the need for a permit.

Small game hunters are reminded that hunting is generally closed on Saturday 24th December. Season for pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, and quail (which hunters may encounter due to the private release of captive birds) continues on December 26 through February 24. Pennsylvania’s snowshoe hare season runs from December 26 through February 27 .until December 31st. The last segment of the Ruffed Grouse season ends on December 23rd and there is no post-holiday season.

All small game hunters must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on their head, chest and back together at all times that is visible from 360 degrees.

Meanwhile, many waterfowl seasons run into January, and in some cases later.

Consult the 2022-23 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest for more informations.

Opportunities for Furbearers

Hunting and the catching of fur carriers also have their peak in winter. These include opportunities for foxes, raccoons, beavers, mink and muskrats.

A Furtaker License is generally required to take Furbearers by hunting or trapping. Coyotes are an exception to this requirement; They can be harvested by anyone with a Hunting or Furtaker license.

There are also a few fur bears – lynx, fishermen and river otters – which licensed furtakers are only allowed to pursue if they first obtain a permit and catch tag for that species. These permits are only sold prior to the start of the season, therefore bobcat and fishing permits are no longer available as the seasons for these species are underway. River otter permits must be purchased before February 11th.

For a full list of seasons and regulations see Hunting and trapping collection.

But whichever way you look at it, there’s still a lot to hunt.

“While the fall hunting season offers incredible excitement and more opportunities than we may have available, winter also offers great times to be outdoors,” said Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Game Commission. “Whether it’s marking the last deer this season, putting out some cackling roosters, waiting for ducks to drop into your decoy spot, tracking down a prime bobcat spot, or any of the many other opportunities available now and after Christmas are available, the adventure that awaits is its own reward.” Hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania are still open until 2023

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