Forrest, McKean and Warren Counties
This may sound odd, but according to Pennsylvania Game Commission deer biologist George Kelly, the suburban areas surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh consistently produce the biggest Keystone bucks. But because access is limited in these places, Kelly recommends that hunters look for older age-class bucks on the vast public lands of the state’s north-central region, namely the 513,000-acre Allegheny National Forest lands in Forrest, McKean and Warren counties. “Even though the state’s northern public lands are open to hunters, much of it is semi-accessible due to the rough terrain and lack of roads,” Kelly says. “This allows bucks to live longer and get into those older age-classes.” Another good trophy bet is the 280,000-acre Sproul State Forest in Clinton County-there’s some really remote territory here that increases the odds of big-buck numbers. In a monumental change to Pennsylvania’s hunting season format, the state’s traditional two-week buck season will now run concurrent with a full two-week antlerless hunt. The change was made in an attempt to reduce the state’s out-of-control deer population, which now numbers 1.5 million.