Friday, July 25, 2014

Earlier PA Elk License Deadline Almost Here

Hunters looking for a chance take part in Pennsylvania’s 2014 hunt must submit applications by July 31.

No bull.

Those who don’t act fast will miss out on their chance to participate in Pennsylvania’s 2014 elk hunt. 

The deadline to enter the annual drawing for elk licenses is July 31 – about a month earlier than in previous years. 

The drawing also has been moved to an earlier date, and a new location. It will be held Aug. 16 in Benezette, Pa. as part of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the elk expo provides a fitting showcase for the drawing, which each year generates excitement among tens of thousands of hopeful hunters. But those who haven’t yet submitted applications to enter this year’s drawing need to be mindful of the earlier deadline, he said.

“Elk hunting in Pennsylvania is the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s exciting just to enter the drawing and know your name could be the next picked for a license,” Hough said. “Hunters who are hopeful of being drawn for the 2014 hunt need to submit their applications as soon as possible, however. 

“With the July 31 deadline approaching, time truly is of the essence,” Hough said.  
Changes aside, the process for submitting an application remains the same. 

Applications can be submitted anywhere hunting licenses are sold, or online at the Game Commission’s website, Perhaps the easiest way to submit an online application is by clicking on the “Elk Hunting” icon on the website’s homepage.

Applicants must pay a $10.70 non-refundable application fee to be included in the drawing. 

This year’s drawing provides a greater opportunity for hunters to obtain an elk license. The number of licenses to be allocated has been increased to 108, up from the 86 licenses issued in the 2013-14 season.
On the date of the drawing, hunters will be selected for 27 licenses for antlered elk, or bulls, and 81 licenses for antlerless elk, or cows.

Individuals are not required to purchase a resident or nonresident general hunting license to apply for the drawing. However, hunters who are drawn for a license must hold a valid general hunting license and a valid elk license in order to hunt elk. 

Adult general hunting licenses cost $20.70 for residents and $101.70 for nonresidents, and elk license fees are $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.  

Those who enter the drawing but are not selected to purchase an elk license still benefit by increasing their chances to be selected in coming years.

Each applicant in the 2014 drawing receives a preference point that will serve to multiply the number of chances the applicant receives in subsequent drawings. Individuals who applied in each year from 2003 through 2013, but were not awarded an elk license, have 11 preference points heading into this year’s drawing. If they submit an application this year, they will have their name entered into the drawing 12 times (11 preference points in addition to the point from this year’s application.)

Additionally, hunters who want to earn a preference point for this year, but know that they would not be able to participate in the elk hunting season if drawn, have the option of simply purchasing a preference point for $10.70. While they will not be included in the drawing for the 2014 elk licenses, they will continue to build their preference points.

Those applying for an elk license can choose either an antlered or antlerless elk license, or they may select either-sex on their application. For those who select “antlered only,” if they are drawn after the antlered licenses are allocated, they will not receive an elk license. For those who do receive an antlered elk license, they will not be permitted to re-apply for future elk hunting opportunities for five years. However, those who received an antlerless elk license in any of the previous hunts may submit an application this year.

Applicants also have the opportunity to identify their elk hunt zone preference, or they may select “NP” (no preference). If drawn and their preferred hunt zone is filled, applicants will be assigned a specific zone by the Game Commission.  

The Aug. 16 drawing is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Plans are in place to webcast the drawing, with live streaming video available through the Game Commission’s website.

Those who can neither attend nor watch the drawing can check the status of their applications online. 

To find out the status of an application, go to the Game Commission website (, and click on the blue “Buy a License” box in the upper right corner of the homepage.  Click on the “Purchase License Permit and or Application/Replace License and or Permit” option, which includes the ability to “Check on the status of any Lottery Application,” scroll down and click on the “Start Here” button at the bottom of the page.  At this page, choose one of the identification options below to check your records, fill in the necessary information and click on the “Continue” button. Click on the appropriate residency status, which will display your current personal information.  At the bottom of the page, choose the “Check on the status of any Lottery Application” button, and then hit “Continue.”

Details on the elk season and drawing are available on pages 78 to 80 of the 2014-15 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is provided to license buyers and may be viewed on the agency’s website.

By law, only one application is permitted per person per year, and the Pennsylvania Automated License System will prohibit an individual from submitting more than one application. 

For the cost of a $25 chance, one lucky hunter will win extended-season bull-hunting opportunity.

          Being selected to take part in Pennsylvania’s elk hunt is special, but a new opportunity available this year really is something to bugle about.

In addition to the 108 elk licenses to be awarded by lottery Aug. 16, an additional bull elk license will be raffled off Aug. 17.

          And the raffle’s winner not only will receive an extended opportunity to hunt anywhere on Pennsylvania’s elk range, but will receive a fully guided hunt filmed by a professional crew and, if the hunt is successful, the trophy will be mounted free of charge.

          Chances for the Elk Conservation Raffle cost $25 each, or six chances may be purchased for $100, but there is no limit on the number of chances that may be purchased.

          And all proceeds from the raffle will stay in Pennsylvania to be used among other things to improve habitat for the state’s elk.

          The Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission will conduct the raffle, which is authorized by a newly passed state law – House Bill 2169 authored by state Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield and Elk counties.

          The raffle winner may not transfer the elk-hunting opportunity to another party. A Pennsylvania general hunting license, as well as an elk hunting license is needed to participate in the hunt. The license holder also is subject to a background check, and prior game-law violations might prevent the license from being awarded.

          Pennsylvania Elk Conservation Raffle tickets may be purchased several ways. They can be purchased online by midnight Aug. 16 at KECA’s website;, with payment made by credit card via PayPal. They also can be purchased at the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo or at the Elk Country Visitor Center.

Purchased ticket stubs must be postmarked and returned by Aug. 11, if mailed to KECA. 

The winner of the Pennsylvania Elk Conservation Raffle will be selected during a public drawing held at the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Elk Expo on Aug. 17 at the Elk Country Visitor Center. The winner does not need to attend the drawing to win.

The conservation license can be used from Sept. 1 to Nov. 8, 2014. The winner of the Pennsylvania Elk Conservation Raffle will be permitted to hunt in all elk management units open to elk hunting.

The lucky winner can enjoy a six-day fully guided hunt donated by Elk County Outfitters. The guided hunt includes meals and lodging and guide service.

A fully donated shoulder mount has been offered by Cessna’s Taxidermy, of DuBois. And, as an added bonus, the hunt will be filmed by the camera crew from TomBob Outdoors, Friends in Wild Places Adventures Series to be aired on national TV. TomBob Outdoors operates out of Ridgway, Pa.

The guide service, taxidermy and film crew are available if the hunter chooses to participate.  There is no obligation to use the guide service, taxidermists or the film crew; it is the hunter’s choice.

           In addition to authorizing KECA’s Elk Conservation Raffle, House Bill 2169 also authorizes the continuation of the Special Conservation License Auction, which expired in 2013. The Game Commission will partner with a wildlife conservation organization to auction an elk hunting license to the highest bidder with the proceeds going to benefit conservation programs. More information on the auction will be available at a later date.

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