There has been a lot of discussion (read: complaints) up here in NW Pa. about the few number of deer seen during the 2004 deer season. I guess the Pa. Game Commission got an earful in January about does being over-harvested.
Preliminarily, the Commission has decided not to make any changes to deer hunting regarding the seasons or antler restrictions. Therefore, to address the purported over-harvesting of does, the Commission will probably choke down on the number of doe permits available in 2005.
I am very curious about how many tags will be available. As a resident, I (and my hunting buddies) make sure to send the doe permit application in the Friday before the drawing. Knock on wood, but I have not heard of anyone who sent in their application this early being denied because the tags were sold out.
As we all know, after the first round of resident applications, then the out-of-staters get their round and finally we go to the bonus tag round. If the Commission really scales back the available number of doe permits, I believe that it will be the out-of-state hunters and bonus taggers who will be hurt. This will definitely upset some folks from Ohio who have camps in NW Pa. (there are quite a bit of OH license plates around Tidioute, Pa. in the fall). There goes some of the tourism dollars.
My real concern, however, is that in order to make the out-of-staters happy, the Commission will create an allotment of doe tags for them, which may operate to deny Pa. residents in the first round.