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Game Commission Survey Profiles Pennsylvania Deer Hunters

A survey recently released by the Pennsylvania Game Commission measures the traits, tactics and attitudes of whitetail deer hunters in the Commonwealth.

After reviewing thousands of responses, the Game Commission got a glimpse into the demographics of the state's 700,000 deer hunters. The average Pennsylvania deer hunter is about 47 years old, and has been hunting for about 29 years.

Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser said the age demographic of Pennsylvania deer hunters "folds like an accordion." He said it seems many junior license holders are giving up the sport for years before returning to deer hunting later in life.

"There is kind of a little dip there right as they come out of college, and before they reach an age at which they will have established themselves in their careers and settled down, so to speak," said Feaser.

The survey found that young deer hunters are slightly more successful than their elder counterparts.

"Younger hunters use tree stands, deer drives and trail cameras more than older hunters," said Feaser. "Those are some of the things that influence hunter success."

While many of the hunters said they'd like to see more deer, most agreed that the Game Commission is doing well to manage the populations of whitetail herds. Feaser said there's an age-old debate over the deer population.

"When a deer population is trimmed to limit property damage or promote forest regeneration or things like that, hunters will see fewer deer. That will lead to complaints," said Feaser. "And if we reduce [hunting] opportunities, the landowners, then, are unhappy because they sustain more damage to their properties and farmers sustain more damages to the crops."

For the complete survey results, visit the Game Commission's website.