Antlerless Deer License Applications Available in August

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission will accept regular antlerless deer license applications from resident hunters beginning Aug. 2, and non-residents on Aug. 16.

As was the case last year, hunters will continue to send their antlerless deer license applications to the Game Commission via 22 different Post Office boxes. The agency, in turn, will forward them to county treasurers for processing.

"After last year's dramatic changes in the antlerless deer license application process, there are no significant changes in the process this year," noted Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. "However, as this is the second year for the new application process, hunters will want to read and follow directions carefully, and mail their applications in the official envelope to the Game Commission using the provided mailing labels."

With the implementation of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) last year, hunters began applying for antlerless deer licenses based on WMU, not a specific county. Pre-printed mailing labels are provided to affix to the application envelope; and the application envelope is now yellow, not pink.

After Aug. 2, the Game Commission will launch an "Antlerless License Update" page on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) to provide hunters with updates on available antlerless deer licenses. Notices for WMUs that have sold out will be posted immediately. Look under "Hot Topics" on the agency's homepage.

"With antlerless deer licenses being issued for WMUs, hunters are no longer restricted by unmarked, political county boundaries when hunting antlerless deer," Ross said. "Antlerless licenses now are issued for WMUs, which are defined by easy-to-recognize geographical boundaries - such as major roads and rivers - rather than political lines on a map that can't be seen in the field."

For huntable areas between divided highways (such as those in between east and west bound lanes of Interstate 80) or islands in rivers that are designated as boundary lines, hunters can use an antlerless license issued for either bordering WMU to take an antlerless deer.

Ross emphasized that, as required by state law, county treasurers will continue to issue antlerless deer licenses. Except for "over-the-counter sales," county treasurers will receive applications from the Game Commission for a percentage of a WMU's total antlerless license allocation based on the county's representation in the WMU.

Ross also noted that the yellow envelopes contain pre-printed address labels for each of the 22 Post Office boxes established for each of the state's 22 WMUs.

"The mailing labels have bar coding incorporated into the address to speed up the processing of applications," Ross said. "Hunters should ensure that the label is securely placed on the envelope before mailing it. If it appears that the label is not affixed properly, the U.S. Postal Service will allow applicants to use transparent tape over the label to secure it to the envelope.

"Hunters also should write the WMU they are applying for in the box in the lower left-hand corner of the envelope, just in case the label is not properly secured and it falls off. This step will enable the agency to continue processing the envelope without the delay of having to open and check the WMU designation on the application and then re-sealing the envelope for shipment to a county treasurer."

The Game Commission will begin accepting antlerless license applications through the mail from residents on Monday, Aug. 2; nonresident applications will be accepted through the mail starting Monday, Aug. 16. The Game Commission will begin accepting resident and nonresident hunter applications through the mail for the first round of unsold licenses on Monday, Aug. 23; and the second round will be accepted through the mail beginning Monday, Sept. 13.

Over-the-counter applications will not be accepted by county treasurers until Nov. 1, except in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, where county treasurers will begin accepting over-the-counter applications on Monday, Sept. 20.

Applying for and receiving more than one antlerless license at a time is against the law and carries a $100 fine. While individuals are permitted to mail up to three antlerless deer license applications in one envelope, the applications must be for different individuals. Hunters may apply for one license during the first round of regular antlerless deer licenses. During the first round of unsold licenses, hunters may apply for a second license. During the second round of unsold licenses, hunters may apply for a third license. The exception to this is when hunters are applying over the counter in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D.

Applications that do not include return postage will be placed in a "dead letter" file maintained by the Game Commission's Licensing Division in the Harrisburg headquarters. Applicants who believe that their antlerless license application may be in the dead letter file may contact the License Division toll-free at 1-877-331-GAME (1-877-331-4263) during business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. This line will be activated after Aug. 16.

Regular and first round unsold antlerless licenses will be mailed to successful applicants by county treasurers no later than Monday, Sept. 20. Second and subsequent rounds of unsold antlerless licenses will be mailed to successful applicants by county treasurers no later than Friday, Oct. 1.

The Board of Game Commissioners approved the 2004-2005 antlerless deer license allocation for the highly urbanized WMUs (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) of 159,000, which is an increase from last year's allocation of 131,000. The Board also approved an antlerless deer license allocation for the remaining WMUs of 880,000, which is a modest increase from last year's allocation of 842,000.

Following is a listing of the antlerless deer license allocation by Wildlife Management Unit, with last year's allocation in parenthesis: WMU 1A, 48,000 (44,000); WMU 1B, 33,000 (37,000); WMU 2A, 55,000 (45,000); WMU 2B, 68,000 (45,000); WMU 2C, 75,000 (65,000); WMU 2D; 58,000 (58,000); WMU 2E, 23,000 (29,000); WMU 2F, 44,000 (44,000); WMU 2G, 52,000 (52,000); WMU 3A, 32,000 (28,000); WMU 3B, 48,000 (45,000); WMU 3C, 37,000 (40,000); WMU 3D, 50,000 (50,000); WMU 4A, 43,000 (37,000); WMU 4B, 49,000 (38,000); WMU 4C, 44,000 (46,000); WMU 4D, 55,000 (58,000); WMU 4E, 38,000 (38,000); WMU 5A, 32,000 (28,000); WMU 5B, 64,000 (60,000); WMU 5C, 71,000 (66,000); and WMU 5D, 20,000 (20,000).

"The last four hunting seasons have been the largest deer harvests in Pennsylvania history, and yet, in three-quarters of our Wildlife Management Units, deer populations are stable or rising," said Dr. Gary Alt, Deer Management Section supervisor. "This allocation is expected to drop the statewide herd by five percent, which is necessary to reach our goal of balancing the deer herd with its habitat."

For a description of each of the WMU boundaries, please refer to pages 47-51 of the 2004-2005 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is presented to each license buyer along with harvest report cards, an antlerless deer license application and envelopes.