Pennsylvania Senate Bill 431 (SB 431), a bill supported by and advocated for by the National Deer Association (NDA) for well over a year, passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly late last evening. It will now head to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk for a final signature.
The bill allows for the sale of antlerless deer hunting licenses through the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System (PALS). This means that Pennsylvania hunters would be able to purchase their antlerless deer hunting licenses online or at a physical participating PGC vendor. The modernization of applying for and purchasing antlerless deer licenses in Pennsylvania is long-overdue.
Currently, Pennsylvania hunters apply for antlerless deer licenses by sending an application to a county treasurer for processing and issuing. In return for the processing service, the county receives $1 from each antlerless license sold. Historically, counties have processed applications at various rates, and hunters had to rely on varying postal delivery times for the delivery of the antlerless application – which provides its own hassles, including a self-addressed, stamped envelope and paper check or money order.
SB 431 provides that antlerless license shall be issued only by the PGC or by authorized license-issuing agents designated by the director and shall be available through the PALS. The PGC recently updated this system, and the new interface provides hunters a more convenient and efficient way of applying for and receiving hunting licenses. Now, more than ever, the PGC is equipped to handle a transfer of the antlerless deer license application process from counties to the agency.
The NDA supports the modernization of applying for and purchasing deer hunting licenses and permits. In an ever-increasingly digital world, providing a streamlined approach for hunters to engage in the deer management process is incredibly important. The PGC is a self-funded agency – it doesn’t receive any general funding from the state, but rather, it funds its mandates through the sale of hunting licenses. Bringing the sale and processing of antlerless licenses in-house will only advance the conservation of the Commonwealth’s game and non-game resources.