Pennsylvania Game Commission Awards 56 Elk Licenses

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After a five-day delay prompted by Tropical Storm Lee flooding that forced the closure of state offices in the Harrisburg area last week, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials today held a public drawing to award 56 elk licenses for the 2011 season.  The event also was webcast via the agency’s website, drew 599 viewers, and served as a means to enable more people to view the public drawing. All 56 hunters selected to receive a license will be mailed a confirmation letter within about a week.

“Over the past two years, we have been pleased to enable the tens of thousands of individuals who apply for an elk license to find out via our webcast if they had been drawn,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “We recognize everyone who applies is unable to attend and, given our financial limitations, we can’t afford to send everyone who applied for an elk license a letter letting them know whether they were drawn; we only notify those who were selected.

“By webcasting the public drawing, we reached far more than the two dozen people who attended the event at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters.  In fact, according to the webcasting service we used for today’s broadcast, we saw there were 599 people tuned in at one time.”

Roe noted there were 18,253 individuals who applied for the drawing. An additional 487 applicants only purchased a preference point for this year, and were not included in the drawing.         

“While state law prevents the agency from publishing a list of today’s winners, thanks to another of the agency’s technological leaps forward, those who were in today’s drawings can check on the status of their applications, by Sept. 23, thanks to the new Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS),” Roe said.         

Presently, the status for all elk license applications is listed as “Pending.”  Once the database is updated, which is expected by Sept. 23, those who were selected for an elk license will see the status changed to “Awarded,” as well as the designation of the Elk Hunt Zone and whether they were awarded an antlered or antlerless elk license.  Those not selected will see the status changed to “Unsuccessful.”         

To access the information, go to the Game Commission website (, and click on the blue box in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage.  Click on the “Purchase License Permit and or Application/Replace License and or Permit” option, which includes the ability to “Check on the status of any Lottery Application,” scroll down and click on the “Start Here” button at the bottom of the page.  At this page, choose one of the identification options below to check your records, fill in the necessary information and click on the “Continue” button. Click on the appropriate residency status, which will display your current personal information.  At the bottom of the page, choose the “Check on the status of any Lottery Application” button, and then hit “Continue.”

“While this may seem like a lot of clicking and box checking to get to the information, the system is designed to protect an individual’s personal information, while at the same time enabling that person to check on the status of his or her applications, as well as their antlerless deer license applications,” Roe said. “In the past, the only way to know for sure that you were awarded an elk license was to attend the public drawings, wait for a letter in the mail or to call the Game Commission.”    

Of the 18 antlered elk licenses, 17 were awarded to Pennsylvania residents, and one awarded to a hunter from Ohio.  All 38 antlerless elk licenses were awarded to Pennsylvanians.           

Roe noted preference points played a significant role in determining those drawn.  According to results, 21 of the individuals selected for an elk license had nine; four of the individuals selected for an elk license had eight; seven had seven preference points; six had six preference points; five had five preference points; two had four preference points; six had three preference points; and five had two preference points. 

All 56 elk license recipients will receive in the mail two copies of the Game Commission’s elk hunter orientation DVD, which they must view prior to the elk hunt, and update materials.  The second copy is to be previewed by their guide, if they choose to use a guide.  Elk license recipients are not required to use a guide.     

All elk license recipients must obtain a general hunting license prior to purchasing their elk license.  Elk licenses cost $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.       

In addition to the 56 licenses drawn today, one special Pennsylvania bull elk conservation license was auctioned off by the Safari Club International (SCI) earlier this year at its national convention.  The Special Conservation Tag was created by an act of the legislature in 2008. The successful bidder paid $29,000 for this license. Of that, 80 percent will go to the agency to fund habitat development and maintenance work within the elk range. By law, SCI is permitted to retain the remaining 20 percent to defray costs associated with promoting the auction.


SGM's picture

$250 is cheap but you have a

$250 is cheap but you have a better chance at hitting the power ball twice in a month than drawing that one tag. Was stationed in PA a few years ago and went looking for the elk there. Saw a few cows and a small spike bull but none of the big boys. Good luck to all those who drew tags and hope to see a few pictures after the hunt.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Wow for that price just may

Wow for that price just may have to look into somethig like that for next year.  Be pretty cool to one of only a slect few to go out there and hunt some great elk.  I have seen some pictures of elk from there and they have some pretty good ones out there.  Congrats and good luck to to all the lucky hunters who get the chance.

hunter25's picture

Wow!! I agree with the deal

Wow!! I agree with the deal being given here even if the chances of getting drawn are slim to none. It says you have to get your general license if drawn? Or do you have to buy ahead of time like most of the western states. Even with the odds if there is no lost money involved I can see no reason why all of us aren't applying for this one. It's a long ways to go for me but it would be worth the experience and adventure to be able to say you were one of the lucky ones to draw.

I still can't believe it's less than half the cost of most of the western states that have so many elk tags to apply for.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

The chances are astronomical

The chances are astronomical there, but that's a heck of a price for an out of state elk license if you are fortunate to get a tag in the drawing.  Only $250?  Very nice! 

My dad is from Pennsylvannia, and his side of the family still lives there.  I remember hearing storied of the elk herd there quite some time ago, even one story where a bull had decided, for some unknown reason, to flip over a lawn tractor using his antlers.  Musta been a big bull!

Not many people think of Pennsylvania having an elk herd either, even though they have existed there for almost 100 years.  They have even placed at least one elk in the B&C record books in the last decade or so.  That might not seem like a big deal, but no other eastern state has done that, that I know of.