A Look Back at the 2002 Elk Season

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As hunters begin submitting their applications for the public drawing of 100 elk licenses for the 2003 season, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has posted on its website a new feature offering a look back at the 2002 elk season. To view the new section, go to the agency's homepage (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on the PA Elk Hunting Headquarters icon.

"This year, 100 fortunate hunters will have the opportunity to pursue one of North America's most sought after big game animals," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. "The Game Commission developed this website to acquaint hunters with the unique hunting opportunities and fantastic experiences awaiting those individuals who are chosen to participate in the Commonwealth's annual limited elk hunt. It's an unparalleled chance to wade into the Allegheny Mountains after a quarry that up until 2001 hadn't been hunted in the state since the 1930s."

The public drawing to select 100 elk hunters for 2003 will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27. The exact time and location will be announced in the near future. Based on previous research and the results of this year's elk survey, the herd should number between 650 and 700 animals by the time the 2003 elk hunting season is held Nov. 10-15.

In order to better serve its customers, the Game Commission is allowing hunters to complete and submit applications on-line through "The Outdoor Shop," which is found on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us). For those who prefer to complete a mail-in form, the agency also has posted a printable application on its website. In addition, applications will be included in the 2003-2004 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is provided to each license buyer.

A $10 non-refundable fee must be submitted with the application. On-line applications must be accompanied by a credit card payment (VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express accepted), and must be submitted by Sept. 12.

Forms submitted through the mail must be accompanied by a check or money order (do not send cash) for $10 made payable to "Pennsylvania Game Commission," and must be received in the Game Commission's post office box by Aug. 22. Mail-in applications may be printed off the website, completed and mailed to: Pennsylvania Game Commission, Elk License Application, P.O. Box 61890, Harrisburg, PA 17106-1890.

No Game Commission office will accept hand-delivered applications.

"By law, only one application is permitted per person," Ross said. "If a person submits more than one application, all of his or her applications will be declared ineligible and the individual will be subject to prosecution. All application fees are non-refundable."

"All applications will be put into one container for the public drawing," Ross said. "We then will draw enough applications to award 100 elk licenses. The first 20 will be awarded antlered elk licenses, and the next 80 will be awarded antlerless elk licenses."

The elk license allocation for the 2003 elk hunt is designed to accomplish the following: stabilize the range-wide elk population; permit elk hunting in all elk management units; target elk-human conflict areas with hunting pressure; and decrease the hunting pressure on branch-antlered elk.

Ross also noted that the Game Commission has pledged to earmark the first 10,000 application fees ($100,000) for habitat improvement in the elk range.

In 2001, the Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced a pledge of up to $600,000 from their two agencies over the next three years to fund habitat improvements for elk and other wildlife throughout the elk range in northcentral Pennsylvania. The two agencies also challenged sportsmen's groups, conservation organizations, businesses and individuals to match the state's funding commitment in order to generate a combined investment of $1.2 million over the next three years.