Pennsylvania –-(Ammoland.com)- Antlerless deer licenses are days away from going on sale and, this year as much as ever, it’s important to closely follow the application instructions and pay attention to key dates because there have been some changes to the process.
Pennsylvania residents are given preference in applying for antlerless licenses, and resident hunters may apply for their first antlerless licenses beginning Monday, July 11.
But the application schedule has been changed this year to allow nonresidents to apply beginning Monday, July 18, a week after sales to residents begin.
This is a shorter wait than in previous years, when nonresidents weren’t permitted to apply until the third week of sales. And resident hunters who don’t take advantage of their provided head start might be affected by the change.
All applicants also are advised that the cost of each license has gone up by 20 cents due to a contract extension to continue the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS).
While this is only a slight change, it’s important that resident applicants make checks and money orders payable for $6.90 for each license they seek. The fee for nonresidents is $26.90 per license.
Applications that are incomplete or sent without proper remittance will be rejected and returned to the applicant. Applications received before the Monday start of any round also will be returned to sender.
Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the first step to securing an antlerless license for any wildlife management unit (WMU) is to purchase your general hunting license and fill out your antlerless license application so it’s ready to be sent in.
“Seasoned applicants have learned their chances of being awarded an antlerless license, particularly in WMUs where relatively few licenses are allocated, are better if they send in their applications on time – so it’s important to get a license and fill out an application,” Hough said. “But even those who are familiar with the application process need to carefully follow the instructions laid out in full on pages 34 through 36 of the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest to make sure their submissions are complete.”
Applying on time
Making timely applications is important for hunters who want to better their chances of securing an antlerless license in their preferred WMU.
Statewide, 748,000 antlerless licenses are available. While that number represents a slight increase compared to last year, hunters should note the license allocation in 21 of Pennsylvania’s 23 WMUs has either held steady or decreased this year.
Along with this, it’s important to understand the statewide allocation has been reduced significantly in recent years. In 2011, for instance, 902,000 antlerless licenses were allocated statewide.
As the total number of available licenses has decreased, many WMUs have begun to sell out of licenses earlier.
To help hunters get a better sense of when specific WMUs might sell out, a chart has been included in the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest showing the allocation for each WMU, as well as the 2015 sell-out date.
While applicants can choose to apply first for antlerless licenses in WMUs that tend to sell out earlier, then apply for licenses in other WMUs in later rounds, the best advice is to apply for a license for the WMU you truly want to hunt, doing everything you can to up your chances of getting one, Hough said.
“While it’s true that WMUs with large allocations typically have antlerless licenses available later into the year, and sometimes into hunting season, even these WMUs have tended to sell out more quickly in recent years, as the statewide allocation has dropped,” Hough said. “In any WMU, hunters who wait for licenses run the risk of not getting them, so it’s a good idea to apply where you want to hunt and give yourself a better chance at a license there.”
Second and subsequent applications
In any WMU where antlerless licenses remain, resident and nonresident applicants may apply for a second license beginning Aug. 1, and a third license Aug. 15.
Applications during these rounds are accepted by mail only, and must be mailed with proper remittance in an official pink envelope, which ordinarily is provided by the license-issuing agent at the time a general hunting license is purchased.
Applications for antlerless licenses in any WMU can be mailed to any county treasurer’s office, with the exception of the Philadelphia and Lehigh county treasurer’s offices. A list of participating county treasurers and their mailing addresses appears in the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest.
In most parts of the state, hunters are limited to purchasing a total of three antlerless licenses.
However, in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, an unlimited number of licenses can be obtained. Each hunter may apply for only one license per round in those WMUs until Aug. 1, when an unlimited number of applications can be submitted. Only three applications can be mailed in each envelope.
If licenses remain, over-the-counter sales begin Aug. 22 in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, and Oct. 3 in all other WMUs.
DMA 2 permits
Monday, July 11 also marks the first day for hunters to submit applications for antlerless deer permits that can be used in what is known as Disease Management Area 2.
Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2) represents the lone area of Pennsylvania where chronic wasting disease has been detected in free-ranging deer. A total of 22 free-ranging deer within DMA 2 have tested positive for the disease since 2012. A total of 14,500 permits have be made available. The permits can be used only within DMA 2, which includes parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.
Hunters may apply for DMA 2 permits in addition to regular antlerless deer licenses. Obtaining one or more DMA 2 permits does not reduce the number of antlerless deer licenses for which a hunter may apply.
There are some differences between the application process for a DMA 2 permit and that for an antlerless license.
Only residents and nonresidents ages 12 and older with valid general hunting licenses may apply for permits. Participants in Mentored Youth and Mentored Adult hunting programs are ineligible to make application, and the permits cannot be transferred to participants in those programs. Each permit costs $6.90, and payments must be made by credit card, or check or money order made payable to the “Pennsylvania Game Commission.”
Applications for DMA 2 permits will be accepted in two ways – electronically through the Game Commission’s Outdoor Shop, http://www.theoutdoorshop.state.pa.us, or by mail. Those wishing to send applications by mail can obtain an application form at the Game Commission’s website, the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters or any region office. The application schedule is similar to that for antlerless deer licenses, however, residents and nonresidents can apply on the same dates in all rounds.
Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, July 11. Each eligible applicant may submit one application during this first round, which lasts three weeks.
Beginning Aug. 1, a second round of application begins. Again in the second round, each eligible applicant may submit one application. However, an applicant who did not submit an application during the first round may submit two during the second round.
A third round of applications will begin Aug. 15. Eligible applicants may submit an unlimited number of applications during this round, and the round will continue until all permits have been issued.
DMA 2 permits can be used to harvest an antlerless deer during any deer season, including the antlered deer season. Those who are issued DMA 2 permits are required to submit reports, regardless of whether they harvest a deer. Hunters who take a deer with a DMA 2 permit must report within 10 days; those who don’t must report after the close of the final deer season. Those who fail to report as required are subject to criminal prosecution and may be ineligible to apply for permits if the program is continued the following year. Through their reports, hunters provide valuable data that plays a crucial role in the Game Commission’s management of CWD.
All hunters are advised the boundary to DMA 2 has been expanded since last hunting season due to new cases of CWD being detected. The latest DMA 2 map has been included in the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, however, boundaries can change quickly, and the most up-to-date information always can be found on the Game Commission’s website.
Hunters harvesting deer within any DMA are not permitted to remove from the DMA any deer parts with a high risk of transmitting the disease. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including taking a deer to an approved deer processor or taxidermist outside the DMA, or traveling to an approved laboratory for disease testing.
The use of urine-based deer attractants also is prohibited within any DMA, as is the direct or indirect feeding of deer. A complete list of rules applying to DMAs can be found in a Game Commission executive order, which also is available at the agency’s website.
Antlerless permits through the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) remain available for some properties, and can be purchased through the Pennsylvania Automated License System.
DMAP is a Game Commission program designed to help landowners manage deer numbers on their properties. Hunters may obtain up to two DMAP antlerless deer permits per property, and DMAP permits do not impact a hunter’s eligibility to apply for and receive antlerless deer licenses.
DMAP permits went on sale June 20, along with general hunting licenses, and are sold out for some properties.
DMAP permit fees are $10.90 for resident hunters; and $35.90 for nonresidents. Each permit can be used on the specific property for which it’s issued during any deer season, including the antlered deer season, to harvest one antlerless deer.