Pennsylvania Game Commissioners recently approved several significant changes to the Agricultural Deer Control Program, commonly known as Red Tag, that will help farmers better manage deer populations on their lands.
The program is designed to give farmers an extra option to handle deer damage in the early spring and fall, outside of the traditional big game hunting calendar. Hunters will be able to obtain up to four Red Tag permits per-property, making it consistent with the allocation to the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP).
The summer period during which Red Tag hunting is closed (currently May 16 – June 30) would be expanded to April 16 – July 31.Permits will be valid from August 1 through September 15 and then Feb. 1 through April 15.
Hunters would not be able to use Red Tag from May 16 to June 30, but would cumulatively have more potential days afield to use their permits. Permits would be issued for the license year that begins July 1 and runs through June 30.
It will become hunters’ responsibility to report their successful harvest, not the landowner.
The program would also be open to all hunters, including those living out of state. Lastly, landowners would no longer need to enroll in the Game Commission’s Hunter Access program before using the Red Tag program. These changes fulfill many Pennsylvania Farm Bureau policies in regards to the Red Tag program.
We will monitor the program to see how these changes are implemented and will advocate for other possible adjustments as needed. All of the changes to Red Tag will go into effect November 2022. In related news, the Game Commission also increased Doe Tag allocations for the 2022-2023 hunting season to 948,000 an increase of 23,000 tags from the previous hunting season.