HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Game Commission estimates about 550,000 hunters with rifles are expected to take to the woods in search of white-tailed deer.

The rifle season opened just before sunrise on Monday and continues through Dec. 9.

Hunters are allowed to harvest one buck, as well as an antlerless deer for each antlerless permit they hold.

Experts believe the deer population is up due to last year's milder temperatures. As a result, there has been more food for the deer. However, it also means the deer are not moving as much so hunters are being asked to be patient.

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