Hunting licenses a little different this year | New

With antlerless deer license sales starting last week, hunters in Pennsylvania are now looking at 2021-2022 licenses and the new Hunt Fish PA license system. {/scope}

Things are new. Things are a little different. It is understandable that there are a few bumps in the road.

Hunt Fish PA replaces the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System (PALS) that had been in place for a decade.

It is run by an outside company called NIC Inc., which has a lot of experience in selling hunting / fishing licenses online.

The company has worked with 11 states in the past, including Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The most noticeable difference that hunters see up front is that the new permits are now green instead of yellow.

If you look closely at the turkey and deer harvest tags included with your license purchase, you will notice another new feature.

In the area where you used to write the date of your kill, there is now a block of text that says “Cut Date on Back”.

Flip the label over and you will see the months of the year separated by blocks at the top, as well as blocks numbered 1 to 31 covering both sides.

Like hunters in many western states, hunters in Pennsylvania in the future note the month and number corresponding to the day they harvest the game.

“One consideration in making this change here is that the notch on the label with the date reduces the amount of information that must be filled in in ink,” said Travis Lau, Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesperson.

“On a cold or humid day, your pen may not want to cooperate. Now there is one less thing to complete. And most hunters will have their knives handy when filling out a tag anyway.

“But there are also law enforcement considerations. If a tag is used and notched, it is extremely difficult later for an offender to pass it off as valid.

Woodless licenses

The first round of woodless license sales got off to a slow start last Monday.

Lancaster County Treasurer Amber Martin had dedicated a team of full-time and part-time staff in her office to deal with the annual deluge of pink envelopes containing doe tag requests.

In recent years, Martin’s office has processed more woodless licenses than any other county treasurer’s office in Pennsylvania.

According to Lau, the electronic licensing system experienced “system-wide slowness” on Monday that crippled treasurer’s offices like Lancaster.

“Just irritating because we have a full staff and part-time employees to do this as quickly as possible, and we’re being held back by a very slow licensing system,” Martin said.

Lau said sales of woodless licenses may have increased as a solution to the slowdown is explored.

Hunters looking to see if they had their top pick in the tags discovered a change on the Game Commission website that left some puzzled for a while.

Under PALS, hunters could click on a hyperlink that would take them to the portal that allowed them to verify whether or not they had received a woodless permit.

Earlier this week, the Game Commission website simply stated that “the process is changing for the 2021-22 license year.”

But there was no other instruction.

On Tuesday, the Game Commission updated the site to note that hunters can log into their individual profiles on the Hunt Fish PA system at

Here you can access your license purchase history just like you would with PALS, although it will look different when you browse the pages.

You can do this whether you purchased your hunting license online or not.

Eventually, you’ll be able to go to a page that lists your “purchase history” and you can see all of the tags you have active as well as any special permissions – like an archery license – that you hold.

And when a woodless license is issued by a county treasurer, it will show up in your purchase history as an active tag assigned to you.

If you would like to check the number of unsold tags in any of the state’s 23 wildlife management units, simply go to the homepage and click on “Wildlife Quota.” In the top tab.

I realize that “wildlife quota” isn’t really a term we use to talk about doe tags here in Pennsylvania, but this is where this information is kept.

At the end of last week, all WMUs still had tags, although some allowances were declining.

WMU 2H, which had the lowest allocation with 9,000 tags, had less than 5,000 remaining.

WMU 5B, which covers Lancaster County, had just over 57,000 of its remaining 60,000 total allocations.

The next series of doe tag sales for Pennsylvania residents begin August 2, with the next series starting August 16.

Elk license

The deadline to apply for a Pennsylvania elk permit is July 31.

It’s going to be a big year for elk hunting in Pennsylvania. The number of tags is on the rise, with 56 of the total 187 elk permits reserved for bulls.

And 10 of these bulls will be specially allocated for a hunt from January 1 to 8.

Other elk seasons this year will be archery, September 11-25, and general hunting November 1-6.

Register for the elk lottery at any license dealer or online at The licensing draw for the upcoming season will take place on August 21 at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Elk County.

Hunters can check if they’ve pulled an elk license under their profile on, just as they would check the status of antlerless deer license applications.

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