HARRISBURG, PA -- Beginning Monday, June 13, Pennsylvania hunting and furtaker licenses for the 2011-12 seasons will go on sale, according to Carl G. Roe, agency executive director. Licenses will be available through the Game Commission's Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS), over-the-counter at all Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters, as well as the more than 600 in-state and out-of-state issuing agents. Licenses also are available through the PALS website: https://www.pa.wildlifelicense.com.
For the 2011-12 license year, all fees are the same as they have been since 1999. There is a 70-cent transaction fee attached to the purchase of each license and permit, which is paid directly to Active Outdoors, the Nashville-based company that runs PALS. Returning PALS customers are encouraged to provide their Customer Identification Number (CID) to speed up processing.
"PALS enabled the Game Commission to modernize the licensing system and improve security," Roe said. "To ensure faster processing, personal information is now recorded through a Pennsylvania driver's license scan. This eliminates data entry; provides a more secure, reliable and accurate means to gather and store license holder records; and eliminates license buyer duplicity.
"For all these reasons - and more - the Game Commission has eliminated paper applications. Nonresidents can purchase licenses through any of these venues, but the system cannot scan out of state driver's licenses."
Roe noted that all license-issuing agents now are part of an integrated, real-time, cyber network that allows them to offer some specialty licenses that prior to 2009 could not be provided by all issuing agents under the old license system.
"All license agents now can issue senior lifetime licenses; Mentored Youth Hunting Program permits; elk drawing applications; bobcat and fisher permits; even resident landowner reduced-fee hunting licenses and Deer Management Assistance Program Harvest (DMAP) permits," Roe said. "Hunters also can purchase the special spring gobbler license, which allows them to harvest a second gobbler in the 2012 spring gobbler season."
Roe also noted, as originally envisioned by the U.S. Congress and the Pennsylvania General Assembly, PALS enables the agency to suspend issuing licenses to those, who through court order, have had their hunting license privileges revoked for failure to pay child support.
Roe reminded hunters that, under state law, only Pennsylvania County Treasurers may issue antlerless deer licenses. However, thanks to PALS, county treasurers now may issue an antlerless deer license for any WMU, so long as its allocation isn't sold out.
Applications for the regular round of antlerless deer licenses for residents begins July 11, and nonresidents can apply beginning July 25. An antlerless license application will be printed with every general license purchased, and an application also will be available in the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest for the first and second round of unsold antlerless deer licenses. The first round of unsold antlerless licenses will begin, for residents and nonresidents, on Aug. 1, and the second round of unsold antlerless licenses will begin on Aug. 15.
Except for Wildlife Management Units (WMU) 2B, 5C and 5D, hunters only may apply for one license during each application period. Hunters apply for antlerless licenses in WMU 2B, 5C and 5D may apply for an unlimited number of antlerless deer licenses - however, the limit of three per envelope remains in effect - beginning on Aug. 1.
"Hunters will need to continue using pink envelopes to mail antlerless deer license applications to the county treasurer of their choice to process the applications and mail back antlerless deer licenses," Roe said. "Hunters will have the option of listing their first, second and third WMU preferences for doe licenses on their applications. Treasurers will fill the highest WMU preference listed by the hunter. This option will eliminate reapplication for a doe license if your first WMU preference - or second - is sold out. However, hunters do not need to list alternative WMUs if they only plan to hunt in one specific WMU."
A list of the mailing addresses for the 65 county treasurers that issue antlerless deer licenses is included in the 2011-12 Digest, which is provided to each license buyer. (NOTE: Philadelphia and Lehigh counties have opted out of issuing antlerless deer licenses.) More details on the new procedures for applying for a doe license can be found in the Digest, which will be posted in the right-hand column of the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by June 13.
Licenses are printed on a yellow strip - similar to a fishing license - that can be folded and placed into a license holder. Carcass tags have perforated holes to make it easier to attach to the carcass of the harvested animal, and are preprinted with a hunter's name and address. Licenses will fold into a 2.5-inch by 3.5-inch, tear-resistant document.
Roe reminded hunters that the Game Commission accepts online harvest reports for deer, wild turkey, bobcat and fisher. In addition to reporting deer and wild turkey harvests within the prescribed time limits, those who possess a DMAP, bobcat or fisher permit are required to report, regardless of whether they harvested an antlerless deer, bobcat or fisher, respectively. Each online harvest report costs the Game Commission 50 cents.
Hunters and trappers also can use the agency's new toll-free telephone reporting system. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) harvest reporting system telephone number is 1-855-PAHUNT1 (1-855-724-8681).
"This is one more way that the Game Commission is doing its part to make it easier for license buyers to report their required harvests and help the agency better manage wildlife," Roe said. "We have found that harvest reporting rates have been declining for years, and we're hoping hunters and trappers take advantage of this new system and become more active in wildlife management.
"Hunters who use the toll-free number to submit a harvest report will receive a confirmation number. They should write down this number and keep it as proof of reporting."
Roe noted that hunters should have their Customer Identification Number (hunting license number) and field harvest tag information with them when they call, and that multiple harvests can be reported in a single call. He also stressed callers should speak clearly and distinctly when reporting harvests, especially when providing the Wildlife Management Unit number and letter.
A hard-copy of the postage-paid report card still will be available in the 2011-12 Digest, but the agency is hoping hunters will report online or via the toll-free telephone system to save on the cost of postage and data entry. Using these reporting methods also will ensure a harvest report is not lost in the mail.
Waterfowl and migratory game bird seasons are not included in the 2011-12 Digest, as those seasons won't be established until mid-August. Once seasons are set, the Game Commission will produce the annual Guide to Migratory Game Bird Hunting brochure, which will be posted on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and mailed to U.S. Post Offices. However, applications and directions for the public drawing to waterfowl hunting blinds in the controlled hunting areas at the Game Commission's Pymatuning and Middle Creek wildlife management areas are in the 2011-12 Digest.
Get the latest big game hunting news, tips and tactics in your inbox!