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According to one survey, 11.5 million US citizens hunted on protected lands in 2016. Hunting remains a popular American pastime, accounting for as much as 10% of all outdoor leisure activity in the country. Pennsylvania is not immune to the hunting bug, counting itself as the state with the greatest density of self-confessed enthusiasts in the country.

Fall is coming, so it’s time to dust off those extra layers and perhaps think about investing in a few new pieces of kit. A quality merino wool base layer is a year-round asset for the discerning hunter but really comes into its own as we head into colder times.Image result for hunting

What you choose to take on the hunt is up to you, but here’s our breakdown of some happy hunting right on your doorstep here in Pennsylvania.

1. Bow Hunt Deer in Philadelphia

This time last year, there was good news for Philadelphia-based bow hunters when the Interior Department approved deer hunting in a wildlife refuge conveniently located within the city limits. The new legislation approved bow hunting for a short period each year on the thousand acre expanse of land adjacent to Philadelphia International.

2. Stalk Black Bears in Tioga County

Situated in northcentral Pennsylvania is Tioga County, which is home to vast swathes of publicly accessible forestry and produced the largest black bear harvest last year. The surrounding Counties of Clinton, Lycoming, Huntingdon and Potter are also productive bear hunting territories, so consider trying your luck there as well.

3. Put an Armstrong County Turkey on the Table this Thanksgiving

Fall turkey hunting is a Pennsylvania pastime with an annual harvest of 15,000 turkeys. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by putting your own turkey on your Thanksgiving table? Bear in mind, fall hunting is more strictly regulated than in the spring. Biologists have identified Armstrong County as a turkey hotspot at this time of year along with portions of Jefferson, Clarion, Venango, Indiana and Butler. However, there are regions of the state that do not permit turkey hunting at this time of year.

4. Sneak Up On a Bobcat in the Northern Forests

Lurking in the Pennsylvania woodlands is an elusive predator rarely seen by most people. This makes the challenge of trapping one all the more inviting. Pennsylvania’s bobcat population is growing by 4-6% year-on-year with up to 80% of the state. Hunting season starts in December, so you may have to be a little patient. But, hunting bobcats is a challenge and it helps to have time to prepare.

5. Bag a Brute in Benezette, Elk County

No prizes for guessing what kind of prey you’ll be hunting here. General Elk season is November 4-9, 2019. Benezette, in the aptly named Elk County is the heart of 3,500 square miles of the gargantuan herbivore’s territory, much of which is also situated in scenic Cameron County. Get your application in early, as the relevant authorities issue a low number of tags relative to the proportion of hunters looking to take down a big elk.

As you can see, Pennsylvania is blessed with a bounty of biodiversity and exciting ecology. Now all that’s left is for you to get out there and explore it.


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Photo: mossyoak.com