There was a time when “going hunting” meant leaving civilization behind, if only for a few hours. Being afield or at the family cabin meant no phone calls, no bothers and sometime away from what troubled you. Not anymore. There is hardly a sportsman who does not carry a smartphone while in the stand or at least have a tablet at the cabin upon their return. The Pa Game Commission has not only recognized this trend but as embraced it. From purchasing their licenses to mapping the next deer drive, hunters can now utilize their smartphone, tablet, iPhone or iPad to special features and application available from the Commission.
The beginning of the Commission’s venture into the electronic world began with the offering of hunting licenses online. Through the Outdoor Shop, a joint operation between the Pa Game Commission and PA Fish & Boat Commission, allows users to apply for licenses and purchase merchandise via the internet.
Overtime, the Commission added an electronic version of the annual Summary Booklet, a printed guide to seasons and bag limits. While the original PDF version was best viewed on a PC there is now a mobile version available for users utilizing a smartphone or tablet.
The Commission’s first application developed specifically for smartphones, tablets , iPhones or iPads was the Game Lands app. This mobile device app, available through either the Apple Store or Google Apps for $9.99, allows sportsmen to not only locate Game Lands statewide but also provides turn by turn directions, information concerning public shooting ranges, trails and local special hunting regulations.
In 2013 the Commission added a calendar feature which allows users to add season openings and closings to their personal electronic calendar. By clicking on the highlighted event on their calendar users are provided with basic information and link to the specific Commission website page outlining the rules and regulations pertaining to that season.
Like most government agencies, the Commission also maintains a strong online presence via the various social network sites. You can submit questions, view the latest field reports from Wildlife Conservation Officers or even share your success stories and pictures via Facebook & Twitter.
Outdoor Shop ( licenses and merchandise) http://www.theoutdoorshop.state.pa.us/fbg/
While none of these programs or applications will increase a hunter’s shooting ability or pinpoint where deer may be hidden, they will allow for better pre-planning and even permit you to double check the legal requirements prior to hanging a stand. \
Good Luck and good hunting!