Pennsylvania is a hunter’s paradise. There are millions of acres of public and private lands for hunters and trappers to pursue their pastimes. Therefore, it’s not a coincidence that we’re one of the top hunting states in the nation. White-tailed deer, black bear and wild turkey are our most popular big game and for good reason. A great habitat begets amazing game birds and animals–and Pennsylvania has both of them. Add to that a variety of small game and you’ve got a real mixed bag of hunting opportunities from which to choose.
Most noted for its deer hunting, white-tailed deer are found throughout the state. Each year our hunters harvest more than 300,000 animals. Hunting seasons begin in late September or early October and continue until mid-January. Seasons include bow, gun and muzzleloader. Both remote wilderness and agricultural areas offer the chance for a real trophy.
Thinking about a bear hunt? PA grows some of the world’s largest black bears. We currently boast the No. 1 record taken in 2011. The best opportunities are across the state’s northern tier and the Pocono Mountains region. And, if you are one of the lucky ones to have your number drawn, there is a lottery for the number of licenses given out for world-class elk hunting.
Squirrels are abundant in virtually every oak and hickory woodlot. Turkeys are found across the state with the exception of the deep southeast region. Farmland thickets across the lower half of the state are some of the best places for rabbit hunters. If grouse is your specialty, look for early-growth forests across the northern tier for your best hunts.
No matter what your game, Pennsylvania offers a wide variety of hunting opportunities!
Where to Go
There’s no shortage of places to hunt in Pennsylvania. We have 4.5 million acres of public land coupled with unique hunting opportunities on private lands, too.
Hunting on Public Land
These lands include State Game Lands, State Forests and Parks, the Allegheny National Forest and other public properties. While public hunting areas exist across most of the state, the northern tier offers the greatest amount of public including vast wilderness areas.
Hunting on Private Land
Many landowners will permit hunting on private lands, but you’ll need to get their permission first. To help you find these properties, the Pennsylvania Game Commission maintains a private land hunter access program. These are privately owned areas under agreement to allow hunting. At GoHuntPA.org you’ll find these properties on the interactive mapping systems. Locate the property on the map, print it and then visit the landowner to get permission to hunt. Over one million acres across the state are enrolled in this hunter access program.