The countdown to adventure is on. Pennsylvania's 2022-23 hunting and trapping seasons are fast approaching, with licenses set to go on sale June 13.
Buying one is key to getting in on some exciting action.
The new license year begins July 1. It is once again big on opportunities, featuring a record number of bull elk tags, as well as seven weeks of archery deer hunting, a firearms deer season that includes the weekend after Thanksgiving, the chance to hunt trophy black bears, more stocked pheasants than anywhere in the Northeast and more.
License prices, meanwhile, remain unchanged, with one notable exception.
This year, for the first time, a discounted hunting license is available to Hunter-Trapper Education instructors. Instructors who are Pennsylvania residents now can purchase a general hunting license for just $1, plus $1.97 in administrative fees.
This discount was made possible by House Bill 1122, sponsored by state Rep. Keith Gillespie and signed into law earlier this year.
Through their volunteer work, Hunter-Trapper Education instructors provide a valuable service, ensuring new hunters have opportunities to join the hunting ranks, and giving them everything they need to make safe, ethical decisions afield, and ultimately achieve success. The Game Commission can't thank these instructors enough, and the discounted license serves to demonstrate that appreciation.
Otherwise, general hunting licenses and furtaker licenses each cost $20.97 for Pennsylvania residents and $101.97 for nonresidents.
Resident senior hunters and furtakers ages 65 and older can purchase one-year licenses for $13.97, or lifetime licenses for $51.97. For $101.97, resident seniors can purchase lifetime combination licenses that afford them hunting and furtaking privileges.
Like other hunters and trappers, seniors still need to purchase bear licenses to pursue bruins and obtain permits to harvest bobcats, fishers or river otters. Hunters who acquired their senior lifetime licenses after May 13, 2017 are required to obtain an annual pheasant permit to hunt or harvest pheasants.
Hunters once again this coming season may carry digital versions of their licenses in place of paper licenses. License buyers will be emailed a PDF version of their licenses, so long as they provide an email address in their online profile at HuntFishPA. This applies whether they buy licenses online or at an issuing agent. All documents will be emailed, except for harvest tags.
Deer, bear and turkey hunters, and those hunting or trapping in any other season where harvests must be tagged, must continue to carry paper harvest tags afield. No electronic harvest tags are being issued or authorized for use. And all paper licenses and permits that are carried afield must be signed.
Those who plan on hunting big game or bobcats, or trapping bobcats, fishers or otters must plan ahead of time to be sure that they are in possession of their harvest tags prior to hunting or trapping those species. All harvest tags will be mailed to those who purchase their licenses online.
A complete list of licensing requirements can be found at www.pgc.pa.gov.
As for the upcoming seasons, once again this year, additional hunting will be offered on three Sundays: Nov. 13, Nov. 20 and Nov. 27. They're open for all species that are in season, except turkeys and migratory game birds.
Pennsylvania elk hunters in 2022-23 also have some exciting hunting in front of them. A total of 178 licenses are available. That's down a bit from the previous year's 187, but includes a record 60 bull tags, spread out across three seasons.
The archery-only elk season which runs from Sept. 10-24, offers 14 antlered and 15 antlerless licenses; the one-week general season set for Oct. 31-Nov. 5 offers 31 antlered and 70 antlerless licenses; and the late season that runs from Dec. 31-Jan. 7 offers 15 antlered and 33 antlerless licenses.
Licenses are awarded by lottery. License applications can be submitted online or at any license issuing agent. A separate application, costing $11.97, is needed for each season. Hunters wishing to apply for all three pay $35.91. In each drawing, season-specific bonus points are awarded to those who aren't drawn.
The deadline to apply for an elk license is July 31.
Many hunters who regularly buy their licenses as soon as sales begin are motivated by securing a Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permit, which are available in limited numbers and enable holders to harvest antlerless deer in any established deer season.
Buying early also helps ensure hunters won't miss their opportunity to apply for an antlerless deer license.
A resident Pennsylvanian who buys their 2022-23 hunting license is eligible to apply for an antlerless deer license July 11. Nonresidents can apply July 18. And a second round in which a hunter can receive a second antlerless deer license begins Aug. 1 for Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) where licenses remain. And if licenses still remain, a third round begins Aug. 15. Over-the-counter sales begin Sept. 12 in all WMUs where licenses remain.
Hunters statewide now can hold up to six unfilled antlerless deer licenses.
A total of 948,000 antlerless deer licenses are available, up from 925,000 last year. And the continuation of concurrent hunting for antlered and antlerless deer during the duration of the firearms deer season gives hunters in much of the state additional time to fill their tags.
New this year, starting in November hunters can also get Agricultural Deer Permits, previously known as "red tag" permits, through the online licensing system. Cost of the permits is $1.97, which covers administrative fees associated with the license system.
Further details are outlined in the Hunting & Trapping Digest.
Hunting licenses can be purchased online at https://huntfish.pa.gov. Just create an account or log into one you previously created to purchase all the licenses you need. A map to locate a license issuing agent near you can be found on the Licenses and Permits page at www.pgc.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau, 717-705-6541