PA Hunters: Get Ready for an Easier License Grab in 2024-25

Man firing his shotgunPhoto by Tima Miroshnichenko on

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania is gearing up for a shift in hunting and furtaker licenses. As the 2023-24 license year comes to an end on June 30, hunters need to prepare for the new 2024-25 licensing year, slated to begin on July 1.

Starting today, June 24, the hunting community can purchase fresh licenses for the upcoming season. In a change aimed at simplifying procedures, hunters can now get a general license and an antlerless deer license concurrently. This can be done at any point of sale where licenses are sold, making the process more streamlined for hunters.

This year, the sale of antlerless deer licenses will initially only be available in three Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) – 1B, 2G and 3A. These WMUs have been identified as the areas with the highest demand for these licenses. The licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis until the supply runs out, and for now, will only be available to Pennsylvania residents.

By June 27, licenses for the other 19 WMUs will be up for grabs for resident buyers. Hunters can secure these licenses without having to wait in line and are guaranteed a license as long as they purchase before 7 a.m. on July 8. The following day, nonresidents can join the hunting crowd, with the leftover antlerless licenses being available to them as well, following the first-come, first-served rule until the allocated licenses run out.

This updated schedule and process is designed to alleviate long wait times for license buyers, especially during the initial sales round. With this approach, the areas predicted to run out of licenses fastest are addressed first, while other WMUs have the demand spread out over more than a week. It provides hunters with more flexibility in planning their purchase. Last year, only WMU 2G sold out before nonresidents were allowed to buy, while WMUs 1B and 3A sold out in the last days of the first round, illustrating the efficiency of the process.

The process has more rounds to go – the second sales round commences on July 22 at 8 a.m., and the third kicks off on August 12. The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits also become available during this round.

The final round, beginning on August 26, allows hunters to buy more than one license for any WMU where licenses are available, with a maximum limit of six licenses per hunter. This science-backed license allocation within each WMU ensures that deer-management goals are met. If license sales surpass the allocation, which according to last year’s sales patterns is unlikely, adjustments will be made in the subsequent year, as is customary in wildlife management.

In the midst of these changes, hunters can look forward to a hassle-free buying experience, a marked improvement from the long waiting times experienced during the first day of license sales in 2023. The revamped approach promises to increase accessibility, streamline the purchasing process, and provide a more convenient and efficient service for the hunting community.

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