PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) — While it might not be an official holiday, the Monday after Thanksgiving is a busy one for Pennsylvanians.

About half a million people will make their way into the woods for deer hunting. Pennsylvania is ranked number 1 in the country for hunter density, according to the National Deer Association (NDA).

In 2021, the NDA said there were 14.4 hunters per square mile. Just three other states, New York (12), Wisconsin (11.4) and New Jersey (10.5) hit double digits.

Deer hunting season begins on Saturday, Nov. 25 then runs through Saturday, Dec. 9. The only exception is Sunday, Dec. 3, where no deer hunting.

“Pennsylvania`s firearms deer season is truly a tradition unlike any other,” Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said. “We`ve got lots of deer and lots of hunters pursuing them, some from camps far from home, others in woodlots and fields near where they live. But all share the same passion for wildlife, hunting and conservation. That`s something special.”

Not only does Pennsylvania send out the most hunters, but they are also among the top deer harvesters. Pennsylvania ranked in the top five states in 2021 for antlered buck harvest; antlered buck harvest per square mile; antlerless deer harvest; antlerless deer harvest per square mile and antlerless deer per antlered buck harvest, according to the NDA.

“We are in a very productive part of the country for deer, and we have a lot of deer out there,” David Stainbrook, Game Commission Deer and Elk Section Supervisor said.

Last season, an estimated 422,960 white-tailed deer, 164,190 bucks and 258,770 antlerless deer were harvested.

Whether it’s your first or 20th hunting season, Pennsylvania aims to keep the process of getting a hunting license easy. Below are the steps and regulations.

Hunters are permitted to harvest one antlered deer with a valid general hunting license, which costs $20.97 for adult residents and $101.97 for adult nonresidents.

To take an antlerless deer, a hunter must possess either a valid antlerless deer license or valid Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permit. A mentored hunter under the age of 7 cannot apply for their own antlerless license or DMAP permit, but can harvest an antlerless deer if an antlerless license or DMAP permit is transferred to them by a mentor at the time of harvest.

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Antlerless deer licenses can be used anywhere within the Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) for which they’re issued. Two WMUs  2B, which surrounds Pittsburgh, and 4A, in southcentral Pennsylvania, still had antlerless licenses available at the time of this release.

Hunters can check up-to-the-minute availability online.