The new hunting license year begins on July 1, 2009. New hunting licenses have been available now since June 15. If you have not gotten one yet, you will be behind the ball very shortly, as part of that new license contains your application for an antlerless tag for the coming season. Along with the new licenses and procedures for getting them, the process for getting an antlerless tag this year has seen some major changes.


The new hunting license year begins on July 1, 2009. New hunting licenses have been available now since June 15. If you have not gotten one yet, you will be behind the ball very shortly, as part of that new license contains your application for an antlerless tag for the coming season. Along with the new licenses and procedures for getting them, the process for getting an antlerless tag this year has seen some major changes.

Many will recall having to get those yellow envelopes in to the county treasurers in August. This year however, hunters can submit their applications for the regular round of antlerless deer licenses three weeks earlier than in previous years. Residents can apply beginning July 13, and nonresidents can apply beginning July 27.

And that isn’t the only part of the application process for antlerless licenses that has changed this year. In fact, the entire process has changed dramatically since last year. Besides the early start, an antlerless license application will be printed with every general license purchased, and an application also will be available in the Hunting and Trapping Digest. Hunters may apply for a doe license with either.

Under the new process, any Pennsylvania County Treasurer can now issue an antlerless deer license for any Wildlife Management Unit, so long as the WMU’s allocation isn’t sold out. Hunters will no longer deal with WMU stickers and P.O. Boxes.

With the new system, the traditional “yellow envelopes” are history, and pink is back once again. Hunters will also list their first, second and third WMU preferences for doe licenses on their applications. Treasurers will fill the highest WMU preference listed by the hunter. This will eliminate the need to reapply for a doe license if your first WMU preference — or second — is sold out.

More details on the new procedures for applying for a doe license can be found in your Hunting Digest or on the agency’s website. (www.pgc.state.pa.us).

If you have not purchased your hunting license yet, besides visiting your local sport shop, you may also now take advantage of the new online services available to do so. Since June 15, Pennsylvania hunting and furtaker licenses for the 2009-10 seasons have been on sale throughout the state. Using the new “Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS), licenses are now available for purchase through the “The Outdoor Shop” on the agency’s website, over-the-counter at all Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters, as well as the more than 600 in-state and out-of-state issuing agents.

For the 2009-10 license year, all fees are the same as they have been since 1999. However, there is a 70-cent transaction fee attached to the purchase of each license and permit, which is paid directly to Automated License Systems, the Nashville-based company that runs PALS. The convenience of ordering the license from your desktop and not having to drive and use gold water makes the 0.70 cents a bargain!

Learn About Wild Edibles

With summer upon us, many are hitting the woods and fields in search of wild edibles. “Foraging” for wild foods is becoming increasingly more popular these days as people seek to get back in touch with their roots, no pun intended. From berries to mushrooms, the list of wild groceries is large, but you must know what you are doing to avoid those plants that can make you ill or even kill you. One way to learn in to travel the landscape with an expert. You can do that soon at the Lacawac Sanctuary with a local plant and wild edibles expert. On Saturday, August 15, 2009 you can join local master herbalist Nathaniel Whitmore to learn how to use commonly found local plants as food and medicine. Please register. Call 570-689-9494 or e-mail info@lacawac.org. The fee is $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Ages 12 and under are admitted free with an adult.

Frogs and Turtles

The season for frogs and snapping turtles in Pennsylvania will open July 1 through October 31, and the daily bag limit is 10 per day with a possession limit of 20. As with turtles, there are some rules that apply. The use of artificial light to take frogs at night is illegal.  Frogs may be taken with long bow and arrow, including compound bows, crossbows, spears, or gigs. Spears or gigs may not have more than five barbs and cannot be used in approved trout waters.

The best way to catch big croakers is to be on the lake at daybreak with rod and reel in hand. If you have a long pole, you can jiggle just about any shiny lure in front of a frog and it will jump at it.

As for turtles, other than a word of caution about their obvious “snappy nature”, there are also regulations that apply. Set-lines, turtle traps, or other devices for catching turtles must include a tag indicating the name, address, and phone number of the owner or user. Traps, nets, or other devices must be of a floating or partially submerged design so as to allow for the release of untargeted turtles. Hooks must be at least 3.5 inches long with not less than one inch space between the point and shank of the hook. The number of lines or hooks per line is unlimited. You may take a snapper for your self, under your regular fishing license. However, a permit is required to hunt, take, catch, or kill common snapping turtles for the purpose of sale, barter, or trade. A hunter may take up to fifteen turtles per day and have in their possession a total of thirty.