Saturday, September 7, 2013

Friday the 13th Lucky for Pennsylvania Hunters?

Eighty-six applicants to be chosen for coveted Pennsylvania elk licenses.

Long associated with misfortune, Friday the 13th figures this year to rank among the luckiest of days for dozens of Pennsylvania hunters.
Pennsylvania’s annual public drawing for elk-hunting licenses is scheduled to be held on Friday, Sept. 13 at the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s headquarters in Harrisburg. As a result of the drawing, 86 hunters will be selected to purchase a coveted license for the state’s 2013 elk hunt.
“There always are so many people who want to take part in our elk hunt, and so many fewer licenses available, that all whose names are drawn truly can consider themselves lucky,” Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said. “You can bet, too, that the hunters selected for a 2013 elk license will have a whole different opinion of Friday the 13th from here on out.”
Of course, there’s a flipside.
Each year, tens of thousands of hunters pay the $10.70 application fee for a chance to be selected for an elk license. And even though the Game Commission this year continued a trend of increasing the number of elk licenses to be allocated, the fact remains that most who apply will not be selected. Still, every hunter who entered the drawing this year and is not selected, increases his or her chances of being selected next year by earning a preference point.
Preference points are awarded to hunters for every year they enter the elk hunt drawing. A hunter with three preference points and an active application would have four chances to be selected in the drawing.
The live drawing for elk licenses generates a lot of excitement. And for those who want to see the selection process, but who can’t make it to the Harrisburg headquarters to do so, the 10 a.m. drawing will be shown live on the Game Commission’s website,
Those visiting the website on the morning of the drawing can click on the “Live Elk Drawing” icon to watch.
All hunters selected to purchase a license will be notified by mail of the opportunity. All applicants for a license also can check online to see if they’ve been selected, but the results won’t be available immediately.
By Sept. 20, however, the status of all elk-license applications is expected to be updated on the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS).
The application period to enter this year’s elk-license drawing ended Aug. 25.
Presently, all hunters who have applied for an elk license can check PALS and see the status for their application listed as “Pending.” When the database is updated following the drawing, those selected for an elk license will see the status changed to “Awarded.” The listing also will show whether the license is for an antlered or antlerless elk, and shows the Elk Hunt Zone in which the license is valid.
Applicants who are not selected for an elk license will see their status changed to “Unsuccessful.”
To access PALS, go to the Game Commission’s website and click on the blue box titled “Buy a License” in the upper right corner of the homepage.
From there, select the “purchase license” option at the top of the page, enter your identifying information, and at the next screen, select “Check on the status of an Antlerless Deer or Elk Application.”
About 23,000 hunters have applied this year for a chance at an elk license. The first 26 applicants selected at the drawing will be for the antlered elk licenses available. Applicants then will be selected for antlerless licenses. 
Those selected by drawing must purchase an elk license to hunt. License fees are $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. Each elk hunter also must have a valid Pennsylvania general hunting license. 
 Roe said while the elk drawing always is much-anticipated, this year it gives tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians something to look forward to on a day when cynics might tell you it’s best to stay in bed.
“I wish each and every applicant the best of luck,” Roe said.

Prospective elk guides have until Sept. 27 to submit paperwork.

Anyone interested in applying to be an elk guide for the upcoming season should submit a completed application to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Protection by Friday, Sept. 27. Guide permits cost $25 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.
Applicants must possess a valid hunting license or qualify for license and fee exemptions under Title 34, Section 2706. Also, any application received from an individual convicted of a violation of the Game and Wildlife Code or Game Commission regulations within the last 10 years will be rejected. 
Guides may provide assistance in locating or tracking elk, and calling for elk, but they may not harvest an elk. Permit applications are obtained from the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters by calling 717-783-8164, or by contacting any of the Game Commission’s six region offices.
The Board of Game Commissioners created the elk-guide permit to allow experienced individuals, especially those who are familiar with or live in the elk range, to serve as guides for those who receive an elk license. However, an elk license recipient is not required to hire a guide.
Guide permits are not required for those who only plan to accompany an elk license recipient, or those who plan to aid a successful elk hunter to remove an elk from the field.
Those seeking elk guide permits also should consult with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources concerning special guiding permits and requirements on state forest or state park lands.

Celebrating a century of Pennsylvania Elk
The Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2013 is celebrating 100 years of elk restoration in Pennsylvania and, as part of the festivities, special events are scheduled at locations within the state’s elk range each weekend through Columbus Day.
For a complete list of events, visit the Game Commission’s website,, and click on the “100th Anniversary PA Elk Restoration” icon.
Elk ranged throughout Pennsylvania historically, but were pushed from many areas as more of the state was settled. By the late 1800s, elk were eliminated from their last stronghold in northcentral Pennsylvania. And they were gone from the state for about 50 years when the Game Commission in 1913 launched an effort to restore them.
Today, Pennsylvania is home to about 850 elk and the state’s herd is the largest in the northeastern United States.

The state’s elk range comprises about 800 square miles in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Potter and Clearfield counties.

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