Elk Application Deadline Near
Hunters looking to participate in this year’s Pennsylvania elk season have until Aug. 26 to submit an application through the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS). This can be done at any issuing agent or through the “Buy Your Elk License” icon in the center of the agency’s homepage (www.pgc.state.pa.us).
Applicants must pay a $10.70 non-refundable application fee to be included in the drawing. Details on the elk season and drawing are available on pages 86-88 of the 2011-12 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is provided to license buyers.
On Friday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m., the game commission will hold a public, computerized drawing in the auditorium of its Harrisburg headquarters. At that time, the agency will award the 56 elk licenses; the first 18 drawn will receive an antlered license and the next 38 drawn will receive an antlerless license.
By law, only one application is permitted per person per year, and PALS will prohibit an individual from submitting more than one application.
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 the elk hunt orientation video produced by the game commission before being permitted to purchase the elk license. The elk license fees are $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.
There is no cap, or limit, for the number of licenses that may be awarded to nonresidents. Individuals who applied in each year from 2003 through 2010 but were not awarded an elk license have eight preference points heading into this year’s drawing if they submit an application this year and will have their name entered into the drawing nine times (eight preference points plus the point for this year’s application).
As part of the preference point system established by the agency in 2003, consecutive applications are not required to maintain previously earned preference points, but those points can be activated only in years that a hunter submits an application. For instance, if a hunter has seven preference points, but does not enter the 2011 drawing, he/she will not have any chances in the upcoming drawing. However, their preference points will remain on hold until they apply again. Once a hunter is awarded an elk license—either an antlered or antlerless elk license—the hunter’s preference points will revert to zero.
Additionally, hunters who want to earn a preference point for this year, but know that they would not be able to participate in the elk hunting season if drawn, have the option of simply purchasing a preference point for $10.70. While they will not be included in the drawing for the 2011 elk licenses, they will continue to build their preference points.
Those applying for an elk license can choose either an antlered or antlerless elk license, or they may select both categories on their application. 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. However, those who received an antlerless elk license in any of the previous hunts may submit an application this year.
Applicants also have the opportunity to identify their elk hunt zone preference, or they may select “any.” If drawn and their preferred hunt zone is filled, applicants will be assigned a specific zone by the game commission. To assist applicants in making this decision, information about the elk hunt zones, as well as an elk harvest map depicting the locations of every elk taken by hunters since 2001, is posted on the agency’s website and can be viewed by clicking on the “Buy Your Elk License” icon in the center of the homepage.
The public drawing of applications to be awarded licenses will be webcast on Sept. 9. To view the drawing, a special icon will be posted online the morning of the public drawing for individuals to click on and watch the drawing.
“Each year, tens of thousands of individuals apply for an elk license,” said Carl G. Roe, game commission executive director. “Unfortunately, not all of them can make it to the public drawings and we are unable—due to financial limitations—to send everyone who applied a letter to let them know whether they were drawn. By webcasting the drawings, we hope to allow more people to view these events without having to travel.”
Roe also noted that those who have submitted applications can check the status of their applications for the elk drawing, as well as their antlerless deer license applications, thanks to PALS.
To access this information, go to the 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,” 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.
“Thanks to PALS, we will be able to update the data files shortly after the elk drawing is completed so that license buyers will be able to see for themselves if they were drawn for one of the 56 elk licenses.”