If you’d like to try your luck at hunting Pennsylvania’s most majestic game animal, you have until July 31 to submit your drawing application for the 2014 elk hunt.
This year the drawing for elk tags has been moved up a bit and will be held at a new location. The drawing is now set for Aug. 16 in Benezette, PA and in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s Great Outdoor Elk Expo, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. So unlike last year, hunters should be aware of the earlier drawing date.
If you’re a first time Pennsylvania elk license applicant, your applications can be submitted anywhere hunting licenses are sold, or online to through the PGC’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and by clicking on the “Elk Hunting” icon on the homepage.
Applicants must pay a $10.70 non-refundable application fee to be included in the drawing. And your chances of being drawn for a tag will be better this year in that the PGC increased the number of tags to 108, up from 86 last season.
On the day of the drawing, says the PGC, hunters will be selected for 27 licenses for antlered elk, or bulls, and 81 licenses for antlerless elk or cows.
Although it would be appropriate, hunters are not required to purchase a resident of nonresident general hunting license to apply for the drawing. But if you are drawn, you must possess a general 2014-15 license and elk license to hunt elk.
Elk license fees are $25 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. Those entrants, who were not drawn for a tag, are awarded points for upcoming year(s). Individuals, says the PGC, who applied in each year from 2003 to 2013 but did not receive a tag, have 11 preference points heading into this year’s drawing. If submitting an application this year, your name will be entered into the drawing 12 times (11 preference points in addition to the point from this year).
In addition, if hunters who earn a point for this year but know that you won’t be able to participate if drawn, you have the option of purchasing a preference point for $10.70. As such, you’ll not be included in the 2014 elk drawing, but will continue to build preference points.
And for those applying for an elk license, you can choose either an antlered or antlerless elk license or select either-sex on your application. For those selecting “antlered only,” if you are drawn after the antlered licenses are allocated, you will not receive an elk license. For those who do receive an antlered elk license, you will not be permitted to re-apply for future elk hunting licenses for five years. However, those who receive an antlerless elk license in any previous hunts, may submit an application this year.
When applying, you have the opportunity to identify your preferential elk-hunting zone, or select “NP” (no preference). If you are drawn and your preferred zone is filled, you will be assigned a specific zone by the PGC.
To learn if you got lucky and won a license, the drawing is being held at 2 p.m. that day and will be webcasted with live streaming through the PGC’s website. Or, you can do an online check of the site (“Buy a License” icon) on the agency’s aforementioned website.
Prospective elk hunters should be aware that only one application is permitted per person and the automated license system will prohibit you from submitting more than one application.
If you feel real lucky, for the cost of $25 a chance, one lucky hunter will win an extended-season bull-hunting opportunity this year. On Aug. 17, an additional bull elk license will be raffled off. The lucky winner will also receive an extended opportunity to hunt anywhere in Pennsylvania’s elk range and will receive a fully guided hunt that will be filmed by a professional crew. Plus, your trophy will be mounted free of charge.
In addition to purchasing a single chance for this Elk Conservation Raffle, you may purchase six chances for $100 with no limit on the number of chances you can purchase. Proceeds from this raffle will go toward elk habitat improvement.