A current hunting license is required and must be in possession to hunt, take or kill any wildlife in Pennsylvania not classified as a furbearer. A current furtaker license is required to hunt, trap, take or kill any furbearer (coyotes and porcupines are the exceptions). A license is valid July 1 to the following June 30. For waterfowl license requirements refer to migratory bird section in this digest.
HuntFishPA provides the option for hunters and trappers to carry afield electronic versions of licenses they buy, as an alternative to carrying certain paper licenses. Harvest tags will continue to be issued in physical form on green durable stock, and harvest tags need to be carried afield when hunting in big-game seasons or trapping in seasons where harvest tags are used. Hunters and trappers buying licenses online will continue to be mailed all durable-stock license panels, including harvest tags, and will also be given access to eLicenses. Those buying licenses from an issuing agent will be issued harvest tags at the time of purchase and will have the opportunity to have digital licenses provided through email. No signature is required on digital licenses. The license buyer attests to a statement, which serves in place of a signature.
Only one hunting or furtaker license shall be valid during any license year. Any replacement license, or purchase of a second or subsequent license shall immediately invalidate any license of the same kind that had been previously issued.
Hunting and furtaker licenses are nontransferable and non-refundable. It is unlawful to possess another’s hunting license or big game tags, with the exception of mentored hunters under age 7.
Persons who have not held a hunting license issued in Pennsylvania or another state or nation, or do not possess a training certificate, are required to attain certification in an accredited hunter-trapper education program before applying for a hunting license. These provisions do not apply to a person presenting 1) evidence of service in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard and discharge or separation under honorable conditions within six months of application, or 2) evidence that the person is currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Persons applying for a furtaker license must present to the issuing agent one of the following: 1) evidence that the applicant has held a trapping or furtaker license issued in Pennsylvania or another state or nation; 2) a certificate of training; 3) an affidavit that applicant completed a voluntary trapping course sanctioned by the Game Commission, or 4) the applicant has previously hunted or trapped furbearers within the last five years. These provisions do not apply to persons under 12 who trap furbearers under direct supervision of a licensed adult furtaker at least 18 years old. Trappers must be certified to use Cable Restraints.
While afield, hunters and trappers are required to carry their appropriate licenses as well as cards or papers, which must be shown to a game warden or landowner upon request, to confirm identification and residency.
Proof of Pennsylvania residency must be shown to obtain a resident hunting or furtaker license. Persons must be domiciled in Pennsylvania at least 30 consecutive days prior to application. Valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, certain Pennsylvania and local tax receipts, and other positive means indicating residency may be used. A change in residency status from resident to nonresident or from nonresident to resident automatically invalidates a person’s hunting or furtaking license 30 days after the change in status unless the licensee completes and submits a change in residency form.
Individuals may purchase most licenses and permits online at www.HuntFish.PA.gov, except for disabled veteran lifetime and landowner antlerless licenses. All harvest tag panels are mailed to those who purchase their licenses online, and these must be possessed afield when hunting in a season where tagging game is required. Buyers will have licenses with harvest tags mailed to them with the ability to print a digital copy without big game harvest tags from home. A Hunting & Trapping Digest is mailed with base licenses purchased online. Licenses are normally received within 7-10 business days. Please contact the License Division directly at 717-787-2084 if you have not received your license within 14 business days.
Persons under 17 years of age must have their parent or legal guardian’s approval to purchase a general hunting, combination or furtaker license. Junior hunters who wish to hunt in the archery and/or muzzleloader seasons, must purchase a combination license. These add-on licenses may not be added to a general junior hunting license. Eleven-year-olds who have successfully completed a required Hunter-Trapper Education course may apply for a Junior License if they will be 12 years old by June 30 of the license year. They may not lawfully hunt with the license prior to their 12th birthday. Persons 12 and 13 must be accompanied by an adult member of the family (at least 18), or by an adult serving in place of a parent. Persons 14 and 15 must be accompanied by any adult 18 or older. Sixteen-year-olds may hunt alone. Persons who turn 17 after purchasing a junior license can still hunt that year with the Junior License. It is unlawful while accompanying junior hunters under 16 to be out of sight of or unable to physically or verbally control the junior hunter or fail to comply with the fluorescent orange requirements. Verbal instructions given through the use of an electronic or other sound amplification device does not meet this requirement.
Hunters may purchase this license online or over-the-counter at any issuing agent from the start of the license sales (the 4th Monday in June) through the end of bear season.
Information about obtaining a replacement Hunter Education Training Certificate, can be found online at www.pgc.pa.gov or www.ilostmycard.com.
An unlicensed person may accompany a properly licensed hunter or trapper provided that the unlicensed person acts as only an observer and does not, in any manner, participate in hunting or trapping. Any unlicensed person accompanying a licensed hunter must wear the required amount of fluorescent orange. A person who has never held a hunting license in Pennsylvania or any other state must remain in sight of and close to the hunter, who must be at least 18 years of age. An unlicensed person may not possess a firearm, bow, or other hunting device. An unlicensed person who accompanies any hunting party shall be counted as a member of the hunting party for maximum allowed members. The ratio of licensed hunters to non-licensed persons must not exceed 1:1.
An eligible landowner who owns 80 or more contiguous acres open to public hunting in a Cooperative Hunter Access Program, or a designated immediate family member living in the same household, is entitled to a Landowner Hunting License. Applicants must have their PGC Cooperative Hunter Access Program agreement number when applying.
An eligible landowner who owns 50 or more contiguous acres within a county is entitled to one antlerless deer license for the WMU where the land is located at the prescribed fee ($6.97 for residents, $26.97 for nonresidents). If the qualifying acreage is located within a county with two or more WMUs, the applicant selects the desired WMU. A landowner must keep the property open to public hunting and trapping year-round. The Landowner Antlerless Deer License Application/Affidavit is available from county treasurers, PGC offices, and online. Applicants must apply directly to the county treasurer where the acreage is located. Landowners may apply beginning June 20, and through the license year, as long as the WMU has available licenses.
Lifetime licenses must be renewed each year. If you have not purchased or renewed your Senior Lifetime License through HuntFishPA, you will need to provide your SSN when applying. This is a one-time only requirement, and will not be needed again unless you do not have or cannot remember your CID. All Senior Lifetime and Senior Lifetime Combination License holders who purchased prior to May 13, 2017 are exempt from the Pheasant Permit. “Pheasant Eligible” will be located on the bottom panel of the license if a hunter does not have to purchase a pheasant permit. You will need to provide proof of residency when renewing your license, usually through a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license.
To qualify for a general hunting license for $2.97, applicants must meet all of the following requirements: 1) be a resident of Pennsylvania; 2) be on active and full-time duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the U.S. Coast Guard; 3) be currently assigned to a facility outside Pennsylvania; and 4) be on temporary leave in Pennsylvania.
Reduced fee $2.97 general hunting licenses are available to residents serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Reserves who, within the previous 24 months, were deployed overseas for a period of 60 consecutive days or more, or were released early from such service because of an injury or disease incurred in the line of duty. Only one reduced-fee license may be issued for each qualifying deployment.
Reduced fee $2.97 general hunting licenses also are available to residents who are former Prisoners of War, certified to have been imprisoned by enemy forces while in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Residents applying for any of the Armed Services licenses must provide official documentation, from the branch in which they serve, to prove eligibility in the form of orders, leave documents, military ID, and in the case of POWs, a DD214. All of these licenses, except for the POWs (county treasurers and PGC offices sell POWs), are available from any issuing agent and online platform. If the applicant cannot apply in person, he or she may submit to the Game Commission office or county treasurer a written request, including full name, legal address, telephone number, date of birth, height, eye color and documentation verifying Pennsylvania residency and military orders and, for the POW license, a copy of DD214 stating Prisoner of War status. Applicant must include a self-addressed, stamped, return envelope with the request. Online applications will include questions to self-validate.
All three resident disabled veteran classifications must provide documentation from the Veterans Administration specifying percentage of disability and confirming disability is service-related or is a loss of use of one or more limbs to acquire these licenses. All resident disabled veteran licensees with 100% permanent disability can apply for free Lifetime Hunting and Lifetime Furtaking licenses at County Treasurer locations only. Free hunting and furtaking licenses for Resident Disabled Veterans with 100% serviceincurred disability (not lifetime); Resident Disabled Veterans with 60-99% service-incurred disability rating license is $2.97. These license types can be purchased at County Treasurer locations, Game Commission offices and online at www.HuntFish.PA.gov. Applicants must provide documentation from the Veterans Administrations. If you have questions, call the License Division at 717-787-2084.
All persons are required to have a Migratory Game Bird License to hunt waterfowl, including the conservation season, and migratory birds including doves, woodcock, brant, coots, gallinules, rails and snipe. Unless issued as a digital license, the license must be signed in ink and carried by the hunter.
In addition to Migratory Game Bird License, all persons 16 and older are required to have a federal duck stamp to hunt waterfowl. It must be signed in ink across the face and carried by the hunter. It is not necessary to display the stamp. These stamps can be purchased online at www.HuntFish.PA.gov or over the counter at any issuing agent. You will receive a stamp in the mail, but you can hunt with the temporary license issued at the time of purchase. Your temporary license is good for 45 consecutive days. If not received within 30 days, please contact the vendor, Amplex at 1-800-852-4897.
Hunters may purchase this license online or over-the-counter at any issuing agent from the start of the license sales (the 4th Monday in June) until the day before (May 3) the spring gobbler season.
Hunters may apply to enter the drawings for an elk license one time per license year, either online or at an issuing agent. The elk application can be purchased from the start of the license sales (the 4th Monday in June) until the application deadline. Refer to the “Elk Section” in this digest for detailed information.
If a hunting or furtaker license has been lost or destroyed, a replacement license may be purchased for $6.97, per privilege, over-the-counter at any issuing agent or online at www.pgc.pa.gov by clicking on “Buy a License.” A lost or destroyed antlerless license can only be replaced through a county treasurer. County treasurers can issue replacement antlerless deer licenses for any WMU.
If a check issued in payment of any fee or fine is returned uncollectible, the person who makes, issues or presents it will be charged a $25 fee, in addition to any costs of prosecution or penalties assessed. Any license, permit or privilege granted by an uncollectible check shall be invalid until all applicable fees are paid.