Hunting In Pennsylvania

Published on 11th April 2023

An image of a rifle hunter wearing a blaze orange clothing while hunting in Pennsylvania

Want to hunt in a state in the US that ensures a great experience for hunters? Well, consider hunting in Pennsylvania!

Rich hunting tradition is the main reason why PA is a famous state for hunters. Most state regulations consider the hunting experience of over a million hunter yearly. 

Unlike other states, the large bulk of the state’s land is available for public hunting. That provides hunters with ample opportunities to explore the outdoors. 

Although, its neighboring countries also have rich public lands available for hunters. But PA’s hunting areas are well-maintained and managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Pretty cool, right? Let’s learn more!

Pennsylvania Game Commission planned hunting season dates. Coupled with the chance for you to test your skills with various weapons. 

Want to bag your desired big or small game species in PA? Check the table below for the designated hunting season for the species you’re after.

Note that the Pennsylvania hunting seasons vary by species, harvest method, and zone. 

Deer Hunting SeasonsArchery Season
Mid-September to late November 
Late December to late January
Firearms Season: Late November to early December
Muzzleloader Season: Early to late October
Black Bear Hunting SeasonsArchery Season: Mid-September to late November
General Season: Mid-November to early December
Muzzleloader: Mid- to late October 
Elk Hunting SeasonsFall General Season: Late October to Late November
Sring General Season: Late April to the End of May
Wild Turkey Hunting SeasonsFall General Season: Late October to Late November
Sring General Season: Late April to the End of May
Duck Hunting SeasonsGeneral Season: October to late January
Small Game Hunting SeasonsSquirrels: 
Early September to late November with two (2) open Sunday hunting. 
Mid-December to Late February. 
Pheasants and Rabbits: 
Mid-October to late November
Mid- to late December
Late December to Late February. 
Mid-October to late November
Mid- to late December

The information provided revolves around the general hunting season for popular game species. Check the Pennsylvania Game Commission website for other unmentioned species. There might also be an open and closed season for some species. 

Big Game Hunting 

Embrace the great outdoors with the thrilling world of big game hunting in the state. With its lush forests, rolling hills, and diverse habitats, it is a true hunter’s paradise. 

The state has two most popular big game species: white-tailed deer and the black bear. Both give challenging and rewarding hunting experiences for all hunters. 

Deer Hunting

Pennsylvania is one of the proudest states when it comes to deer hunting. And that makes it a popular hunting activity in the state

Its deer population might not be as thriving as the other states, but if you found one, a big chance is it will be a slammer! 

It doesn’t matter if you prefer using a bow during archery gear season or a rifle during the firearms season. The state offers a range of hunting opportunities to suit your interests and skills to hunt a deer. 

The excitement of spotting a perfect deer in its habitat will pump your adrenaline.

Black Bear Hunting

Sees yourself as an adventurous and unfazed hunter? Pennsylvania’s bear hunting is the ultimate challenge for you!

The state is home to one of the largest black bear populations in the United States. From dense forests to mountainous regions, it’s for sure that you’ll find a bear. 

With that, Pennsylvania provides ample opportunities to test your hunting skills and patience. 

Small Game Hunting 

Embark on a delightful adventure as you explore the vibrant world of small game hunting in the state. 

PA’s diverse habitats are ideal for hunters seeking a relaxed and accessible experience.

Pennsylvania’s small game hunting offers the perfect opportunity for you. Whether that is to fine-tune your skills or to bond with friends and family

Wild Turkey Hunting

The turkey hunting culture thrives in Pennsylvania. The state is proud of Turkey’s thriving population and the number of turkey hunters.

Turkey hunting in Pennsylvania often involves a combination of scouting, calling, and patience.  Most hunters use camouflage clothing and blinds to hide from these perceptive birds.

Duck Hunting

PA’s duck hunting might not be as popular as the state’s turkey and deer hunting, but it still has something to offer. 

Pennsylvania duck hunters enjoy water habitats that attract a variety of duck species. Here are the duck subspecies you can pursue in the state: 

  1. Mallards
  2. Wood Ducks
  3. Black Ducks

Best Hunting Location

Ready to experience the thrill of the hunt in prime Pennsylvania hunting locations? Pennsylvania has millions of acres of private and public land. Majority of which is available for hunters to hunt. 

Now, check these prime Pennsylvania hunting destinations. Regardless of the game type you’re after, these destinations have something for you.

Public Land

State Game Lands

These state game lands are all under the management of the PGC. The state ensures habitat and wildlife conservation under each public land. 

All 308 state game lands, with almost 1.5 acres, offer ample hunting opportunities for hunters. 

Here are some notable state game lands in the state:

  1. State Game Land 12 in Bradford County for deer and turkey hunting
  2. State Game Land 39 in Schuylkill County for bears and small game hunting.

Susquehannock State Forest

Susquehannock state forest spans over 265,000 acres across Northern Pennsylvania. Its vast expanse of diverse habitats offers opportunities to pursue these game species:

  1. Antler and antlerless deer
  2. Black bear
  3. Wild turkey
  4. Small game (squirrel, rabbit, and grouse)

Also, it boasts an extensive network of roads and trails with access to various locations. Prepare for some rugged and steep terrain, especially in more remote areas.

Tioga State Forest

The state forest’s captivating landscapes and abundant wildlife make it an alluring destination for hunters.

Spanning over 161,000 acres, Tioga State Forest is a favorite among deer and turkey hunters. Its diverse landscape offers a variety of habitats that support plenty of species. 

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

Middle Creek spans across Lancaster and Lebanon counties. A 6,000-acre WMA haven for waterfowl hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike

Middle Creek is famous for its waterfowl hunting opportunities, particularly during migration seasons. The area attracts a variety of duck species, including the following:

  1. Mallards
  2. Black ducks
  3. Wood ducks
  4. Canada and snow geese

Allegheny National Forest

Allegheny National Forest’s diverse landscape makes it an exceptional hunting destination in Pennsylvania.

This expansive 500,000 acres expansive forest is home to a variety of game species. Its diverse habitats and scenery make it a must-visit destination for any avid hunter.

Private Land

In PA, individuals, families, or organizations own these private lands. 

Hunting on private land requires permission from the landowner. In some cases, landowners may charge a fee or ask hunters to join a hunting club to access their private land.

Many private landowners join Pennsylvania’s Hunter Access Program. The program provides public hunting access to enrolled private lands. It also aims to promote landowner-hunter relationships and responsible hunting practices.

Hunting Regulation

Pennsylvania Game Commission handles the state’s hunting regulations. These regulations have different purposes for the state and its wildlife:

  1. Ensure the conservation of wildlife
  2. Promote safe, ethical, and responsible hunting practices

Hunting License

All hunters in Pennsylvania must have a valid Pennsylvania license for hunting. These licenses are available for residents and non-residents. 

Adult Hunting License

Here are the prices of hunting licenses available regardless of your residency status: 

Non-Resident1-year: $101.97
7-day Small Game License: $31.97

Special Hunting Licenses

The state also offers hunting licenses for youth, disabled individuals, and senior hunters. This aim to make hunting more accessible and affordable for these specific groups. 

Senior Hunting License

PA residents who are 65 years of age or older are eligible to buy Senior Resident Hunting Licenses. 

The senior license holders enjoy the same hunting privileges as regular hunters.

Resident Senior $13.97
Resident Senior Lifetime$51.97
Resident Senior Lifetime Combo$101.97

Youth Hunting License

PA offers Junior Hunting Licenses for hunters between the ages of 12 and 16. This license allows licensed junior hunters to join hunting activities in the state.

Resident Junior$6.97
Resident Junior Combo$9.97
Nonresident Junior$41.97
Nonresident Junior Combo$51.97

Disabled Hunting License

Pennsylvania offers hunting licenses for disabled individuals who meet certain criteria. There are different categories of disabled hunting licenses, such as:

1. Disabled Veteran: Available for resident veterans with a service-connected disability.

2. Disabled Person: Available for residents with specific disabilities. Hunter’s disability must meet the criteria outlined by PGC. 

Disabled person permit holders enjoy privileges. This includes the use of a vehicle to access hunting areas or shooting from a stationary vehicle.

Bag Limits

Bag limits specify the number of animals that a hunter may take within a specific time frame. These limits vary by species to help maintain healthy wildlife populations.

Bag limits are an essential component to manage and conserve wildlife in the state.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the bag limits for the animal you’re after. Adhering to these regulations ensures a responsible and sustainable hunting experience.

Fluorescent Orange Requirements

Hunters must wear a specific amount of fluorescent orange clothing during certain seasons. The requirements vary depending on the season and game species you’re after.


Hunting in Pennsylvania is something that you should never miss. With its diverse array of game species and hunting landscapes, adventure awaits you!


Is Pennsylvania good for hunting?

Yes, Pennsylvania is an excellent destination for hunting enthusiasts. The state’s rich natural resources open hunters to diverse hunting opportunities.

What do you need to hunt in Pennsylvania?

To hunt in Pennsylvania, you need:

  1. A valid license for hunting
  2. Any added permits for specific game species
  3. Completion of a Hunter-Trapper Education course (for first-time hunters)
  4. Appropriate hunting gear and safety equipment.

Do you need a gun license to hunt in pa?

No, you do not need a separate gun license for hunting. But, you must buy a valid license for hunting to hunt.