Chester and Fairfield counties are known for their piedmont beauty, with rolling hills, valleys and creek bottoms, providing a mixture of habitat types. PHC also maintains almost 100 food plots on an annual basis to provide a stable food source and attractant for its wildlife.
PHC prides itself on its solid, legal protection for members, game/habitat management and organized club structure. The long waiting list speaks for itself; PHC has built-in guidelines to keep properties maintained, game healthy and growing and membership satisfied in the process.
According to Wayne Archie, the club's president, PHC positions itself to insure the club stays around for a long time.
"We're incorporated for legal protection; we own a 19-acre hunting camp. Ownership allows participating members to invest in their club," he said.
Additionally, the club maintains solid lease agreements with landowners and is always looking to add new leases to make sure membership has plenty of room to hunt.
"We want to keep around 100 acres per member within our lease package, and we have 13 to 14 leases," he said.
PHC is a very organized club, with 22 work teams with various responsibilities, including: gates, food plots, deer stands, roads and safety compliance, plus managing the deer herd under a quality deer management regime.
"We are not a trophy club by any means, but we build in (harvest) guidelines to keep a quality animal growing and our membership satisfied," he said.
For more than 27 years, PHC has gathered and maintained detailed harvest records, keeping up with the weight, antler characteristics, age (from extracting jawbones), location and other data. In 2012, 111 deer were killed on club property, with 34 being quality bucks with at least a 15-inch outside spread or weighing more than 150 pounds.
Two decades of age evaluation has led to the conclusion that a buck weighing more than 150 pounds or having a 15-inch antler spread is at least 3 ½ years old and should be available for harvest. However, PHC allows hunters with young children or hunters new to the sport to take one smaller buck, allowing neophytes to stay interested and have success during the early stages of their hunting experience.
PHC attempts to maintain it deer quality at a high standard on all of its tracts by only allowing members to kill only one buck and one doe on each of the five tracts. "Not any one person can dominate each tract, and one area will not get completely hunted out. We have 125 to 130 club stands and it is first-come, first-serve on each hunting day," Archie said.
PHC maintains around 50 acres of food plots on around 100 locations across the five tracts. PHC has experimented with perennial and annual crops, and in recent years, has switched to mostly annuals with a plot mixture containing crimson clover, forage brassicas, and a few others.