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Hunting- With the recent approval of the November 2005 and September 2006 elk hunts, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has started accepting applications from those interested in entering the public drawing for one of 40 elk hunting licenses (10 antlered and 30 antlerless) to be made available for this fall's season and 10 elk licenses (two either-sex and eight antlerless) for the September 2006 hunt.

The public drawing is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24. The exact time and location will be announced later this year. The elk seasons are set for Nov. 7-12, 2005, and Sept. 18-23, 2006.

To better serve its customers, the Game Commission has enabled hunters to complete and submit applications on-line through the agency's website ( Just click on "2005 Elk Hunt Information" on the homepage and then "Apply Online."

"Completing applications online guarantees hunters that their application was received and that they will be included in the public drawing, and reduces concerns about lost mail or late arrivals," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. "And, in addition to cutting the agency's administrative costs, those filing online reduce the chance of having their application declared ineligible, because the filing system notifies individuals who attempt to submit an incomplete application.

"If they so choose, applicants also will have the benefit of being included in drawings for both the November 2005 elk hunt and the September 2006 hunt for the same $10 application fee. So, hunters automatically increase their chances of being drawn for one season or the other."

A $10 non-refundable fee must be submitted with the application. Online applications must be accompanied by a credit card payment (VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express accepted), and must be submitted by Sept. 19.

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 2004-2005 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is provided to each license buyer.

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. 29. Mail-in applications must be 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."

Because the application period opens before the 2005-2006 or 2006-07 hunting licenses go on sale, individuals are not required to purchase a resident or nonresident general hunting license to apply for the drawing. However, if they are drawn for one of the elk licenses, hunters then will be required to purchase the appropriate resident or nonresident general hunting license and view an elk hunt orientation video provided by the Game Commission before being permitted to purchase the elk license. The elk license fees are $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.

Those previously awarded antlered elk licenses are not eligible to apply for five license years from the year in which they were selected. All others, including those hunters awarded antlerless elk licenses in the previous hunts, are eligible to apply for this year's elk hunt.

Those applying for an elk license will have the option to indicate whether they would like to be considered for the November 2005 hunt, the September 2006 hunt or both. Applicants also may indicate their choice for either an antlered or antlerless elk license, or they may select "either." For those who select "antlered only," if they are drawn after the antlered licenses are allocated, they will not receive an elk license. For those who do receive an antlered elk license, they will not be permitted to re-apply for future elk hunting opportunities for five years.

For the September hunt, two "either sex" elk licenses will be awarded and eight antlerless elk licenses will be awarded. Those who receive the "either sex" licenses will be able to take either an antlered or antlerless elk. There is a limit of one elk per license year. So, if a hunter drawn for the September 2006 hunt is successful in harvesting an elk, that hunter will not be eligible to receive an elk license for the November 2006 hunt.

Applicants also will be given the opportunity to select their first and second choices of elk management areas, or they may select "any." If drawn and their first and second choices for hunting areas are already filled, applicants will be assigned a specific area by the Game Commission. To assist applicants in making this decision, information about the elk management areas is posted on the website along with the application. This information also will be included in the 2004-2005 Digest. All applicants for the September 2006 elk hunt will be assigned to elk management area 1.

Beginning with the 2003 hunt, unsuccessful applicants began to earn preference points toward future elk hunt drawings. In order to participate in the preference system, an applicant must provide a Social Security Number. For those who do not have a Social Security Number, call the Game Commission at 717-787-2084 for instructions.

As part of the preference system, one point is added to an applicant's record for each year they submit an application for the elk hunt drawing and are not drawn. When a hunter with preference points applies for an elk license drawing, his or her name is added to the drawing an extra time for each preference point he or she has accumulated. For example, a person applying in 2003 and 2004, who also applies this year will be entered three times.

Preference points are carried forward until an applicant is drawn; there is no requirement that applications be made in consecutive years in order to retain preference points. However, individuals must apply in order to have their preference points entered for a given license year.

Any hunter awarded an elk license for a given year whose military obligation prevents him or her from hunting the elk season for which the license was issued will be eligible to hunt in the next available elk season.

Anyone drawn for an elk license will receive two copies of an elk hunt orientation video; one that they are required to watch and one for any guide that they may hire.

Individuals, especially those who live in the elk range or are familiar with the elk herd, may apply for a permit to serve as a guide for those who receive an elk license. Guides may provide assistance in locating, calling or tracking elk, but may not drive for or harvest elk. Guide permits will be $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Permit applications may be obtained from the Game Commission's Harrisburg headquarters. Completed applications must be received in the Harrisburg headquarters no later than Sept. 19.

Guide permits are required for those who plan to participate in locating, calling or tracking for elk. Family members and friends accompanying the elk hunter, but not participating in the hunt, do not need to obtain an elk guide permit.

Licensed elk hunters may choose to use a guide who has been properly permitted, although it is not a requirement to do so. Driving or herding of elk is illegal. Based on population and reproduction data collected over the past three decades, the Game Commission estimates the elk herd will number around 600 animals by this fall's season.

For more information on Pennsylvania's elk herd, visit the agency's website (, click on "Wildlife," then choose "Elk in Pennsylvania."

The Game Commission intends to continue dedicating a portion of the revenues generated from the elk license applications received for the elk license drawing to habitat improvement within the elk range. The habitat work is intended to direct and hold elk to public areas within the 835-square-mile elk range to reduce impacts to private property and elk-related conflicts, as well as to enhance regional viability of elk watching and related outdoor tourism.

Source: PA Game Commision


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