Pennsylvania Hunting Season 2023

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Pennsylvania is one of the most enthusiastic hunting states. With nearly a million paid hunting license holders, it’s second only to Texas. This is matched by a competent Game Commission that organizes extensive hunting seasons to manage a large and healthy whitetail herd. To join the ranks of the state’s hunters, make sure you know the dates of the Pennsylvania hunting season 2023 as well as other important regulations and requirements.

Pennsylvania 2023 Season Dates

Method of TakeWildlife Management UnitsDeer SexDates
Archery2B, 5C, 5DEitherSept. 17-Nov. 25 Dec. 26-Jan. 28
Archery1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A, 5BEitherOct. 1-Nov. 18Dec. 26-Jan. 16
MuzzleloaderStatewideAntlerlessOct. 15-22
Special Firearms*StatewideAntlerlessOct. 20-22
Regular FirearmsStatewideEitherNov. 26-Dec. 10
Flintlock2B, 5C, 5DEitherDec. 26-Jan. 28
Flintlock1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A, 5BEitherDec. 26-Jan. 16
Extended Regular Firearms2B, 5C, 5DAntlerlessDec. 26-Jan. 28
*Special firearms season is only open to junior and senior license holders (ages 12-6 or 65 and over respectively), Commission Disabled Person Permit Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in the military.

Pennsylvania Bag Limits

If you’re hunting in Pennsylvania, you only have one chance a year at the Boone and Crockett record. The bag limit for antlered deer is one per license year.

If you just want to fill your freezer, though, Pennsylvania has a lot more opportunities for hunting antlerless deer. You can hunt one antlerless deer per license

Each Pennsylvania Wildlife Management Unit, or WMU, has a quota of licenses they sell each season, and this can vary from year to year. Normally, there are several rounds in which you can buy a single antlerless license. You can then purchase more in the next round and leftovers once the rounds have finished.

To give you some idea, quota numbers in 2022 ranged from a low of 6,000 for WMU 2H to 74,000 for WMU 2D. Most WMUs sold out but two did not.

Pennsylvania Deer Hunting License Requirements and Costs

A hunting license is required to hunt deer in Pennsylvania with the following exceptions:

  • Residents hunting on their own property
  • Resident youth hunters under 12 years old
  • Resident disabled hunters confined to a wheelchair
  • Resident disabled veterans with a disability rating of at least 60 percent

In addition to the general hunting license, you must also obtain a license for each antlerless deer you harvest, which is essentially a tag.

General License Costs

Resident Adult (ages 17-64)$20.97
Resident Senior (ages 65+)$13.97
Resident Junior (ages 12-16)$6.97
Resident Military$2.97
Resident Landowner$4.97
Nonresident Adult$101.97
Nonresident Junior$41.97

Additionally, you need an “add-on” license to hunt the archery or muzzleloader season. The add-on archery license is $16.97 for residents and $26.97 for nonresidents. The add-on muzzleloader license is $11.97 for residents and $21.97 for nonresidents.

Antlerless License Costs (Tags)

LicenseResident CostNonresident Cost
Antlerless Deer License$6.97$26.97


Getting a hunting license in Pennsylvania is relatively easy and can be done online with an electronic account. You will need to have proof you meet the residency requirements:

  • A valid Pennsylvania driver’s license
  • Other documentation such as income tax returns, voter registration or motor vehicle registrations

Members of the military on active duty in Pennsylvania are eligible to qualify as residents for annual licenses.

Hunter Education Requirements

All hunters born after January 1, 1982, must have a hunter education certification to purchase a hunting license in Pennsylvania. The only exemptions are for those honorably discharged from the military, those on active duty in the military and members of the National Guard.

Those without a hunter education certification can still hunt by obtaining a “Mentored Hunting Permit.” In this case, they can only hunt deer accompanied by another hunter 21 years old or older with the relevant license and hunter education certification. The mentor must stay within close proximity of the mentored hunter at all times.

What Weapons Can You Hunt With in Pennsylvania?


Both vertical and crossbows are legal to hunt deer with in Pennsylvania. All vertical bows must have a draw weight of at least 35 pounds while crossbows must have a draw weight between 125 and 200 pounds and be equipped with safety devices.

Broadheads for arrows and crossbow bolts must have a cutting diameter of at least 7/8 inches and be no longer than 3.25 inches.


Muzzleloading rifles and pistols must shoot at least .44 caliber. They may only fire a single projectile.

Muzzleloading shotguns must be 20 gauge or larger. They may only fire a single slug.

Modern Firearms

Rifles must be centerfire and shoot at least .22-caliber ammunition. There is no restriction on magazine capacity.

All centerfire shotguns shooting a single slug are legal.

All centerfire handguns shooting a single projectile of at least .357-caliber and a minimum barrel length of four inches are legal.

Legal archery and muzzleloader equipment may also be used during gun seasons.

Can You Hunt With an AR-15 in Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can legally hunt with an AR-15 in Pennsylvania as long as it is centerfire and you are using .22-caliber or larger ammunition. Most AR-15-style rifles use 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington cartridges, which meets this requirement. Just make sure you follow all other hunting regulations and guidelines as there are many rifles considered “AR-15 style,” and they may use different ammunition or have other features.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in Pennsylvania?

Whitetail deer are by far the most popular type of deer to hunt in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has a long history of deer hunting, and whitetail deer are abundant in the state, making them a prime target for hunters.

To get an idea, Pennsylvania hunters harvested a whopping 435,000 whitetail deer in the 2020-2021 season, about half of which were antlered. This was a 12% increase from the previous year, reflecting the national trend of increasing interest and participation in hunting.  

Although whitetail deer are the primary species hunted in Pennsylvania, the state is also home to elk. Pennsylvania has a growing elk population, mainly in the north-central part of the state. 

Elk hunting in Pennsylvania is strictly regulated and managed through a lottery system, with a limited number of permits issued each year. If you’re interested in elk hunting, you’ll need to apply for the annual elk license drawing and obtain the appropriate fees and permits.

What Else Is Popular to Hunt in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is a great state for hunting with a rich hunting tradition and diverse game species. In addition to deer and elk, Pennsylvania offers hunting opportunities for a variety of other game animals. Some popular species to hunt in Pennsylvania include:

  • Turkey
  • Migratory birds such as doves and woodcock
  • Waterfowl such as ducks and geese
  • Small game such as squirrels and rabbits
  • Small birds such as grouse and pheasants
  • Furbearers including beavers, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and bobcats
  • Black bear

The seasons for these animals can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission website.


I'm an avid hunter, archer and outdoorsman. I was born and raised in the Ozarks, my aunt taught me to hunt and I've been shooting bows since I was a kid.

1 thought on “Pennsylvania Hunting Season 2023”

  1. when can i get a nonresident hunting for 2023 season for deer.web site is confusing.only lists when residentscan purchase one . thank you


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