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New Process for Obtaining Antlerless Deer Licenses set to get Underway

June 22, 2023

HARRISBURG, PA – The check will not be in the mail, and neither will a paper application or a twice-stamped pink envelope.

Instead, hunters simply will buy their 2023-24 antlerless deer licenses wherever hunting licenses are sold.

The new process for obtaining antlerless licenses, made possible by a new law that took effect earlier this year, will get underway Monday, June 26 at 8 a.m., when antlerless deer licenses will be available alongside general hunting and furtaker licenses, and other licenses, permits and privileges.

Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits, which in previous years were available on the first day of general license sales, this year will go on sale Monday, Aug. 14 at 8 a.m.

Hunters essentially have two options in buying their licenses, they can go to a license issuing agent – there are more than 650 of them statewide at sporting goods stores, gun shops, big-box retailers, Game Commission offices and county treasurer’s offices – or they can purchase licenses online.

In either case, antlerless deer licenses have been added to the list of what’s available. An online customer who wants a general license and antlerless license must click to select those options, plus any other available licenses and permits they want (archery, bear or muzzleloader licenses, for example) before checking out. In-person customers relay that information to the issuing agent, who checks the appropriate boxes and prints the licenses and tags. Licenses and tags purchased online are sent to customers by mail within 10 business days.

That’s not to say a hunter can purchase an antlerless deer license at any time they want. Antlerless licenses, each of which can be used to harvest one antlerless deer within the Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) for which it’s issued, are available in limited numbers. The number of licenses to be made available within each WMU is set annually by the Game Commission based on the deer-management goals there. Once the available number is gone, no more are sold.

But there are controls in place to help ensure as many hunters as possible are able to purchase their first and subsequent licenses.

Even in this new, modernized process, the sale of antlerless deer licenses will follow a set schedule and system of rounds similar to what was in place when licenses were obtained by mail. Hunters may purchase no more than one antlerless license per round in the first three rounds.

The first round kicks off on Monday, June 26 at 8 a.m., but only Pennsylvania residents may buy initially. Sales to nonresidents begin on Monday, July 10 at 8 a.m.

The second round, in which a resident or nonresident may pick up a second antlerless deer license, begins on Monday, July 24 at 8 a.m. The third round begins at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 14, the same day DMAP permits go on sale.

Then in the fourth round, to begin Monday, Aug. 28 at 8 a.m., hunters may purchase additional antlerless deer licenses for any WMU where licenses remain until reaching their personal limit of six active antlerless deer licenses.

License fees

License fees for the 2023-24 license year, which begins July 1, remain unchanged.

General hunting licenses and furtaker licenses each cost $20.97 for Pennsylvania residents and $101.97 for nonresidents.

Resident senior hunters and furtakers ages 65 and older can purchase one-year licenses for $13.97, or lifetime licenses for $51.97. For $101.97, resident seniors can purchase lifetime combination licenses that afford them hunting and furtaking privileges.

Like other hunters and trappers, seniors still need to purchase bear licenses to pursue bruins, and obtain permits to harvest bobcats, fishers or river otters. Hunters who acquired their senior lifetime licenses after May 13, 2017 are required to obtain an annual pheasant permit to hunt or harvest pheasants.

Antlerless deer licenses continue to cost $6.97 each for residents and $26.97 each for nonresidents.

A complete list of license fees is available at www.pgc.pa.gov.

Online customers pay additional shipping fees for licenses. While a digital license stored on a mobile device might be all a hunter needs to carry in some situations, big-game hunters must carry their paper big-game harvest tags while hunting, as these must be completed and properly affixed to harvested big game before it’s moved from the harvest site.

Harvested bobcats, fishers and otters must be similarly tagged.

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