The special archery deer hunt is returning to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, after a viral outbreak canceled the event last year.
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The special archery deer hunt is returning to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, after a viral outbreak canceled the event last year.
In the summer of 2022, at least 16 deer were found dead in Middle Creek, located in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. The deer tested positive for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD. Caused by a biting fly that breeds in the summertime, the disease is nearly always fatal in deer.
Concerned about a potentially larger outbreak, officials decided to cancel the archery hunt lottery that fall.
“We canceled it because we wanted to make sure our hunters are having a quality opportunity,” said Lauren Ferreri, Middle Creek’s visitor center and biologic manager.
No cases of EHD were reported this summer. In addition, Middle Creek was removed from Pennsylvania’s Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area 4 in July.
Citing those factors, the Pennsylvania Game Commission decided to bring back the archery deer hunt lottery.
The hunt is held in controlled areas of Middle Creek that are not normally open to the public. It draws a lot of interest each year, with about 1,000 applications for 48 winners. This year only 42 hunting opportunities are available.
“The opportunity looks like a week-long opportunity to hunt a Middle Creek in an area that has little to no pressure ahead of time and also limited pressure during the archery season,” Ferreri said. “It’s really that quality experience where you can pretty much have 250 acres to yourself to hunt with maybe one or two other people.”
Bowhunters have until Thursday, Aug. 31 to register for the hunt lottery. Requirements include a regular hunting license, archery tag and a 5-B antlerless deer tag.
The lottery drawing is scheduled for Sept. 6 and winners will be notified via mail. The hunting opportunities are divided into three week-long spots, beginning on Sept. 30.