Firearms deer season in Pennsylvania started this past Saturday and runs to December 14th.
Pennsylvania Game Commission has guidelines and recommendations for all hunters:
Hunters must wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined at all times statewide. A hat and vest will satisfy the requirement. It’s suggested that non-hunters who might be afield during the deer season and other hunting seasons are asked to consider wearing orange, as well.
Hunt Safely from Tree Stands – Wear a Harness:
Follow these important recommendations from Pennsylvania Game Commission
Wearing a full-body harness is essential to staying safe when using a tree stand, but a harness can prevent falls to the ground only if it is connected to the tree.
“That means you must wear your harness, and be sure it’s connected to the tree, at all times you’re in the stand, as well as when you’re getting into and out of the stand, or climbing or descending trees,” explained Meagan Thorpe, Game Commission hunter-education chief.
A hunter using a climbing stand should tie-in the safety rope or strap that pairs with the harness before beginning to climb.
Most safety ropes and straps have a sewn or knotted loop on one end, and the opposite end can be wrapped around the tree and through the loop, then cinched tightly. There’s often a separate loop, many times a carabiner loop held by a prussic knot, onto which to clip your safety harness.
Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation.
You’ll want to move the safety rope or strap up the tree first, then tighten it, each time before moving the platform up the tree. If the rope is at or slightly above eye-level as you stand on the platform, you should have plenty of room to raise the platform to a higher standing position before moving the rope up the tree again before climbing.
“Make sure you have proper contact with the stand and tree every time you move,” emphasized Thorpe.
It takes only a little longer to climb with a rope, and if the stand fails due to breakage or a pin pulling out of the climbing band, or if a fall occurs because slippage or loss of balance, the harness and rope will prevent falling to the ground.
With pre-installed hang-on stands – and especially ladder stands – the most-practical way to stay connected to the tree is through a safety line, commonly referred to by the brand name Lifeline, that hangs to the ground from above the platform.
Because the safety line is installed above the platform, the tree must be climbed first, but other safety ropes or straps can be used along with your harness. When installing a safety line at a hang-on stand, a linemen’s style belt can be worn while ascending the tree. A linemen’s belt might not be an option for many ladder stands, but a separate ladder and linemen’s belt could be used to install the safety line before the ladder stand is installed.
When using a ladder stand, climbing stick or tree steps, make sure to maintain three points of contact (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) with each step.
The important points are to always take your time and be safe when using stands. Always put on your safety harness while you’re still on the ground, and keep it connected to the tree at all times until you’re back on the ground.
In addition to following safety recommendations and guidelines, Pennsylvania Game Commission wants hunters to be properly licensed and tag and report each deer harvested.
Hunters during the statewide firearms season can harvest antlered deer if they possess a valid general hunting license, which costs $20.90 for adult residents and $101.90 for adult nonresidents.
Each hunter between the ages of 12 and 16 must possess a junior license, which costs $6.90 for residents and $41.90 for nonresidents.
Hunters younger than 12 must possess a valid mentored youth hunting permit and be accompanied at all times by a properly licensed adult mentor, as well as follow other regulations.
Tagging and Reporting:
A valid tag must be affixed to the ear of each deer harvested before that deer is moved. The tag must be filled out with a ball-point pen by the hunter.
Within 10 days of a harvest, a successful hunter is required to make a report to the Game Commission. Harvests can be reported online at the Game Commission’s website – www.pgc.pa.gov – by clicking on the “Report a Harvest” button on the home page. Reporting online not only is the quickest way to report a harvest, it’s the most cost-effective for the Game Commission.
Additional information on Chronic Wasting Disease and a Buck Harvest Photo Contest can be found by clicking on the following link to the Pennsylvania Game Commission web site.