Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pennsylvania Hunting Licenses To Go On Sale This Monday June 9th

Hunters, trappers can purchase new tags beginning June 9.

Hunting and furtaker licenses for Pennsylvania’s 2014-15 seasons go on sale Monday, June 9,  and there are good reasons to get them sooner rather than later.

            Applications for elk licenses must be submitted earlier this year and, while a hunting license is not required to apply for an elk license, many hunters don’t apply until they purchase their general hunting licenses. 

            Additionally, changes made earlier this year to the schedule for landowners to enroll properties in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) should result in all DMAP permits being available when licenses first go on sale. 

            Once again in the 2014-15 license year, all license fees remain unchanged since 1999.
            Licenses can be purchased online through the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS) website,

            Licenses also can be purchased over the counter at all Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters, as well as through more than 600 in-state and out-of-state issuing agents. 

            A list of issuing agents is available at the Game Commission’s website,

            The 2014-15 hunting and furtaker licenses are effective July 1, when the licenses that now are valid expire. The new licenses are valid through June 30, 2015. 

            The launch of license sales for the upcoming seasons also serves as a reminder for Pennsylvania hunters who hold senior lifetime hunting or furtaker licenses, or combinations of those licenses. While those hunters need not pay a license or transaction fee, they must pick up new licenses and harvest tags.

            Additionally, those who hold range permits that allow them to use shooting ranges at state game lands are reminded that now-valid permits also expire on June 30, and that new permits will need to be purchased for range use on and after July 1. 

            Permits are $30 and must be purchased by credit card through The Outdoor Shop on the Game Commission’s website, or at any of the Game Commission’s region offices or the Harrisburg headquarters.

            Licenses purchased through PALS are subject to a 70-cent transaction fee for each license or permit, and that fee is paid directly to the Nashville-based company that runs PALS.

            Through PALS, hunters can purchase not only their general hunting and furtaker licenses, but add-on licenses needed for archery or muzzleloader hunting, specialty licenses to hunt bears or set out after a second spring gobbler, permits to hunt and trap bobcats and fishers, and more.

            In short, what can be purchased from an issuing agent, can be purchased online.
            Hunters also can use PALS to apply for the elk-license drawing or purchase Deer Management Assistance Program permits. 

            Many specialty licenses or permits have application or purchase deadlines, or launch dates for sales. See the 2014-15 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest for a complete list.

            Fast approaching is the start of antlerless deer license sales. Applications for antlerless deer licenses must be sent by mail using official pink envelopes available from issuing agents or Game Commission offices.

            County treasurers statewide on July 14 will begin accepting antlerless license applications from Pennsylvania residents. Nonresidents can apply starting July 28. Beginning Aug. 4, treasurers will begin selling the remaining unsold licenses for any wildlife-management unit for which licenses remain available. A second round of unsold license sales will begin Aug. 18.

            Except in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5C and 5D, hunters may only apply for one license during each application period. In those WMUs, hunters may apply for an unlimited number of licenses. Only one license for WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D can be purchased during the initial round of sales, then beginning Aug. 4, up to three applications may be sent per envelope and licenses will continue to be sold until the allocation is expended.

            Over-the-counter antlerless license sales in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D begin Aug. 25.
            Meanwhile, the deadline to apply for a 2014 elk license is July 31.
            That’s about a month earlier compared to last year. 

            The drawing for elk licenses will be held earlier, too, and will be held as part of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo. The drawing is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Aug. 16, and will be held at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette.

            A bear license is required to hunt bears, and bear-hunting opportunities in some areas of the state begin as early as Sept. 20.

            Bear licenses go on sale at the same time general hunting licenses do, but hunters should note bear licenses are not sold during the statewide general bear season. Hunters must purchase bear licenses by Nov. 21 to participate in the statewide season. Bear licenses then go back on sale from Nov. 27 to 30, when hunters may purchase them to use during extended bear seasons that overlap with portions of deer seasons.

            The deadline to purchase a bobcat or fisher permit is Dec. 19. And those wishing to purchase a second spring gobbler license must do so by May 1, 2015. 

            Harvest permits through the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) will be available for sale beginning June 9.

            Changes were made this year to the landowner application schedule in an effort to ensure permits for all DMAP properties are available for purchase when the new license year begins. 

            Also, new this year is the Mentored Adult Hunting Program, which is modeled after the Mentored Youth Hunting Program that’s been in place for several years. 

            The Mentored Adult Hunting Program offers an opportunity to first-time hunters ages 18 and older who have never before held a hunting license in Pennsylvania or any other state or nation. The cost of the Mentored Adult permit is the same as the cost of an adult general hunting license – $ 20.70 for residents, $101.70 for nonresident.

            Mentored Adult hunters only are permitted to hunt certain species and are not allowed to hunt antlered deer. Mentored Adult hunters are permitted to hunt antlerless deer, and can receive from a mentor one antlerless deer license and/or DMAP permit to tag a harvested antlerless deer.

            A full description of the Mentored Adult Hunting Program can be found on Page 16 of the 2014-15 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest.

            Hunters purchasing their licenses early also might not be able to immediately get a copy of the 2014-15 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest regulations booklet. Some issuing agents won’t receive the booklets until late June. A complete version of the publication is posted on the agency’s website.  And hunters who don’t receive a printed copy of the booklet initially may return to the issuing agent and pick one up after the booklets are delivered

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