BY DOYLE DIETZ
Remember when a lot of us would moan and groan about having to stand in line to purchase our Pennsylvania hunting and trapping licenses at a sporting goods store or other licensing agent.
Well, this year because of COVID-19 regulations still in place as this is being written to meet deadline, we have learned what it really means to have a reason to complain. Being able to talk with someone when purchasing a license — assuming he works in the sporting goods department and not in home appliances — doesn’t seem so bad and would be worth the wait.
For many, perhaps more than ever, rather than standing in line to make their hunting license purchase, they will be ordering them online by going to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website at www.pgc.pa.gov. That means those without Internet access — yes, they are out there — had better find a friend with access and find one fast.
Licenses for the 2020-21 hunting and furtaking seasons go on sale tomorrow, Monday, June 22, and once again a complementary copy of the “Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest” is provided with each license. Pennsylvania residents pay $20.90 for a general hunting license and non-residents pay $101.90, with the license year beginning Wednesday, July 1, and ending Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Resident senior hunters ages 65 and older, or those who become 65 during the license year, may purchase one-year licenses for $13.90 or lifetime licenses for $51.90.
Resident seniors are eligible to purchase lifetime combination licenses for $101.90 that provide them hunting and furtaking privileges, including archery and muzzleloader stamps. Seniors still must purchase a bear license, a second spring gobbler tag, antlerless license, bobcat, fisher or river otter permits. Those who purchased their senior lifetime licenses after May 13, 2017, are required to obtain an annual pheasant permit to hunt pheasants.
A resident Pennsylvanian who buys a 2020-21 hunting license is eligible to apply for an antlerless deer license Monday, July 13; non-residents can apply Monday, July 20; a second round in which a hunter can receive a second antlerless deer license begins Monday, Aug. 3, for wildlife management units where licenses remain; and if licenses remain, a final round begins Monday, Aug. 17. Over-the-counter sales for WMUs 2B, 5C and 5B begin Monday, Aug. 24.
Keep in mind it normally takes 7-10 business days for a hunting license to arrive, but this year it is possible for a delay because of the added volume of sales resulting from COVID-19 closures of some licensing agents. In a perfect world — which this is not — a license purchased tomorrow online should arrive no later than the week of July 6 — making for a quick turnaround to get those pink envelopes in the mail.
Again this year there are three seasons for elk, the earliest being for bowhunters, beginning Saturday, Sept. 12, and ending Saturday, Sept. 26; the regular season beginning Monday, Nov. 2, and ending Saturday, Nov. 7, and an antlerless-only season beginning Saturday, Jan. 2, and ending Saturday, Jan. 9. Hunters may apply for a chance to take part in any of the three seasons, or all of them, by Friday, July 31, but a separate application is needed for each with a fee of $11.90 for residents and $35.70 for non-residents — which is vastly underpriced.
Bowhunters participating in the opening of archery deer season Saturday, Sept. 19, in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D may also take a bear if they have purchased a license. Archery season for bear and deer remains open through Friday, Nov. 27, in these WMUs.
Licensed hunters 21 years of age or older should consider participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting program for those ages 16 and younger and the Mentored Adult Hunting program for those ages 17 and older who have never been licensed. Completion of a hunter safety course is not required for persons being mentored.
Purchasing a hunting license online ASAP is advised. Otherwise, there could be lots of complaining when it’s time to mail those doe applications.
Dietz is parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org