Hunting Licenses At Retailers
Inside the Outdoors, July 7,

As I mentioned last week, hunting and trapping licenses went on sale June 19. That means if enthusiasts are thinking about this year’s challenges in the sport, now is the time to get the licenses.

With that said, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) announced recently that there is a noticeable change for this new seasonal buying. The full regulations digest typically given out when licenses are purchased is not being provided for free as was the case in the past years.

Instead, “All license buyers will receive a complimentary ‘pocket-guide’ that contains general hunting regulations, hunting hours, fluorescent orange requirements, a map of the Wildlife Management units, and season updates and bag limits,” the Commission announced.

In so doing, the PGC will save a significant amount of money pertaining to the printing and mailing of digests.

Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans explained, “This decision is being motivated by the agency’s financial situation, which already has caused the Game Commission to eliminate programs and reduce personnel. These kinds of reductions in services are necessary as the Game Commission approaches nearly two decades without an increase in the cost of general hunting or furtaker license,” he said.

It was noted that unlike most state agencies, the Game Commission doesn’t get a share of tax money from the state’s general fund. Instead funding comes primarily from the sale of licenses, the fees for which are set by the General Assembly.

The PGC is also talking up the requirement for all adult and pheasant hunters to purchase a permit. In recent years, pheasant hunting in our state has been possible only through the release of farm-raised pheasants, and the game Commission’s pheasant propagation program annually has raised and released about 200,000 pheasants or more for hunting statewide. While the program is a popular one, it doesn’t come cheap, costing about $4.7 million annually in recent years.

Steps have been taken to curtail the cost of the program. The game Commission last year closed two of its pheasant farms, and the statewide pheasant allocation for 2017, 2018 has been reduced to 170,000.

“By creating a pheasant permit,” states the PGC, “it has established a mechanism to help fund the pheasant program-giving hunters a chance a help to sustain the program rather than see it vanish.”

The permits will be required for all adult and senior hunters. Each pheasant permit will cost $26.90.

General hunting licenses and furtaker licenses each continue to cost $20.90 for state residents and $101.90 for non-residents,

Resident senior hunters and furtakers, ages 65 or older, can purchase one-year licenses for $13.90, or lifetime licenses for $51.90. For $101.90, resident seniors can purchase one-year combination licenses that afford them licenses and furtaking privileges.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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