So who bought up all the doe licenses in Pennsylvania this year?
September 14, 2015, 9:19 PM
Two phone calls came in to me last week to let me in on a conspiracy by animal rights activists to scoop up all the antlerless deer licenses available in the state..
Well, not all of them, just all of them that they could after the first two mail-in rounds of antlerless deer applications were over and the specials permits could be sold over-the-counter at country treasurer's offices.
Except of course the county treasurers in Lehigh and Philadelphia counties, which opted out of the issuing authority a few years ago.
"PETA bought them all," one of the callers claimed.
I asked if he had proof.
"Someone who was there told me," the caller replied. "They heard them say these licenses will never be used and then tore them up on the courthouse steps."
Well, at least we know for certain that didn't happen in Allentown, where the Lehigh County treasurer resides, or in Philadelphia.
The problem is that despite such posts on Facebook groups and various Internet chat rooms, no one has produced any photographic or video proof of such occurrences by animal rights groups anywhere in the state.
The morning Call needs a new outdoors writer who knows what he is talking about!.The writer states.. (1)"The truth is, if animal rights activists wanted to purchase hunting licenses and then purchase antlerless doe licenses and not use them, it's certainly within their rights, as long...
at 10:00 AM September 15, 2015
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The truth is, if animal rights activists wanted to purchase hunting licenses and then purchase antlerless doe licenses and not use them, it's certainly within their rights, as long as they've passed an approved Hunter-Trapper Education course.
Then again, you'd at least expect to see some type of rise in the sales of the general hunting license that is required to apply for the antlerless permits, and that hasn't happened.
What has happened, because hunters demanded it in the deer management policy, is the Pennsylvania Game Commission has cut back on the number of antlerless tags issued, and savvy hunters are making sure they get their mail-in rounds in early and their over-the-counter tags as soon as possible.
One of the people who called to complain said he routinely gets 10 antlerless licenses each year and now he can't get that many.
Travis Lau, the press secretary for the PGC, had the agency's licensing division go through some allocation and sales numbers for the past several years.
Local Wildlife Management Unit 5C, which in 2010 had 121,960 antlerless tags available, was allowed just 70,000 for the 2015-16 hunting seasons, and sold out by Sept. 1 this year.
Last season, there were 95,000 available, and those were sold out by Oct. 20. In the 2013-14 season, 103,000 were available and sold out by Dec. 6. The previous three years, the licenses did not sell out, but they did in 2009 when there were 113,000 allocated for WMU 5C.
To be fair, hunters may have been caught off guard this season because the boundaries for WMU 5C and the adjoining 5D were changed, increasing the size of 5C while decreasing the size of 5D. Add in the decrease in the license allotment, and you have quantifiable reasons.
"Between those two units, they lost an awful lot of doe tags," Lau said.
"For a few years in a row now, there has been a pretty significant cut in allocations at the state level. When fewer licenses are available in one WMU, a hunter will apply for a license in another WMU just because they have licenses available. When you talk about the numbers decreased in those WMUs, and the larger decrease at the statewide level, that certainly factors into it."
Lau said that the game commission offices have also received calls to complain that animal rights activists are buying up the antlerless deer licenses in bulk, but none of the callers had evidence to support those claims.
Currently, only two WMUs, 2A and 2B, have antlerless tags available.
Hunters have been after the game commission for several years now, ever since the antler restrictions were put into effect and the antlerless doe allocations were raised near the turn of the century, to lower the doe allocation so that deer could be more abundant in the woods. Now that there are less antlerless tags and they are selling out earlier and earlier, hunters are complaining about that too.
The trend right now is to make sure you put in for your antlerless license at the very first date legally allowed. If you didn't do that this year, you're out of luck.