Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A sea of orange-clad men and women headed into the woods Monday as white-tailed deer season kicked off across the state.

It’s almost like an unofficial holiday in the state of Pennsylvania: the first day of buck, or antlered deer rifle season, as the Game Commission calls it.

About 850,000 hunters headed into the woods to get a trophy. Experts estimate that 25 percent of the total harvest could be taken on opening day. Last year, 150,000 deer were harvested on opening day.

In terms of total harvest numbers, Pennsylvania ranked third in the country in 2016. Only Texas and Michigan had higher harvest totals.

Watch Meghan Schiller’s report —


One of the things hunters have to be aware of is something called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. It’s killed off thousands of deer in western Pennsylvania.

“Very much aware of it, but we haven’t seen it ourselves,” hunter Joe Douglas said.

“It doesn’t really concern me yet because it doesn’t seem like it’s spread that much in Pennsylvania, at least in southwest Pennsylvania,” hunter Vince Rizzo said.

Meanwhile, the Game Commission says there’s a record amount of deer in the woods of Pennsylvania, so if you didn’t get one Monday, be patient.

The season runs through Dec. 9.