With expanded Sunday hunting for big game and an archery deer season that reaches deeper than ever into the whitetail rut, 2020 is sure to be a historic year for hunting in Pennsylvania.
And seizing those opportunities is only a license purchase away.
Licenses for the 2020-21 hunting and furtaking seasons go on sale Monday, June 22.
General hunting licenses and furtaker licenses each continue to cost $20.90 for Pennsylvania residents and $101.90 for nonresidents.
Resident senior hunters and furtakers, ages 65 and older, can purchase one-year licenses for $13.90, or lifetime licenses for $51.90. For $101.90, 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.
A complete list of licensing requirements can be found at www.pgc.pa.gov.
Due to a recent change in state law, big-game hunting will be permitted on the following dates: Sunday, Nov. 15 for archery deer hunting; Sunday, Nov. 22 for bear hunting; and Sunday Nov. 29 for deer hunting during regular firearms season.
Once again this year, there are three elk seasons – a September archery season, the November general elk season and a January season for antlerless elk. The number of licenses available has been increased – 26 will be awarded for the archery season (10 antlered, 16 antlerless), 104 for the general season (26 antlered, 78 antlerless) and 34 for the antlerless-only January season.
Licenses are awarded by lottery. License applications can be submitted online or at any license issuing agent. A separate application, costing $11.90, is needed for each season. Hunters wishing to apply for all three pay $35.70 to apply. In each drawing, season-specific bonus points are awarded to those who aren’t drawn.
The deadline to apply for an elk license is July 31.
Many hunters who regularly buy their licenses as soon as sales begin are motivated by securing a Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permit, which are available in limited numbers and enable holders to harvest antlerless deer in any established deer season, including the antlered-only portion of the firearms season in Wildlife Management Units where a split-season is in place.
Buying early also helps ensure hunters won’t miss their opportunity to apply for an antlerless deer license, which in most of the state cannot be used during the first seven days of the firearms deer season.
A resident Pennsylvanian who buys his or her 2020-21 hunting license is eligible to apply for an antlerless deer license July 13. Nonresidents can apply July 20. And a second round in which a hunter can receive a second antlerless deer license begins Aug. 3 for Wildlife Management Units where licenses remain. And if licenses still remain, a final round begins Aug. 17.
Of course, all of this information is outlined in the print edition of the Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which once again in 2020-21 will be provided free to all hunters.
Hunting licenses can be purchased online at www.pgc.pa.gov. Just click on “Buy a License.” A map to locate a license issuing agent near you can be found at the same page.
The 2020-21 license year begins July 1.