Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Doe licenses should be sold by the Pennsylvania Game Commission

The county treasurer system of distributing antlerless deer permits became cumbersome and obsolete when, in 2003, the wildlife management unit system replaced the old 67-county system. Now, 12 years later, the county treasurer system is still in place. Why, you might ask? Because it was mandated by the legislature.

The current illogical and cumbersome system has hunters applying to county treasurers on paper, writing a check and sending it by U.S. mail. These applications are then individually entered by treasurer's office staff into Pennsylvania’s automated licensing system. The computer system accepts the applications for any management unit and lets the treasurer's staff know when the allotment for a unit has been filled. The licenses are printed out and mailed to the hunters. 

Maybe this system made sense 25 years ago, when all hunting license transactions were paper and pen, and all were hand processed. Now that we have units that do not follow county boundaries and the automated, electronic system having county treasurers issue doe tags is no longer logical.  

The current system is more expensive, contains an extra layer of unnecessary bureaucracy and adds more chances for error. Last summer, many hunters sending their antlerless license applications to Luzerne County never received their doe tags because of a lack of staff at that county treasurer's office. It is not the first time that something like this has happened and hunters were unfairly shortchanged. Even if one county treasurer's staff works faster than another, it would give hunters applying there an advantage.

It should be no surprise, then, that a legislator from Luzerne County is attempting to change the system.  Representative Rep. Gerald Mullery's (D-Luzerne) House Bill 231 is an idea that is long overdue. HB 231 would remove the county treasurers as the issuing agents for antlerless deer permits and allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to just use its automated, computerized system.

The County Treasurers Association opposes this bill. If this bill is passed, county treasurers would lose one dollar that they currently receive per license for processing the applications. My guess is that, unless they already have staff sitting around with nothing to do, it likely costs them more money to process the applications than they make.   

Mullery's HB 231 has 11 cosponsors and the bill is currently stalled in the House Game and Fisheries Committee. This should be about what is best for hunters not county treasurers. I hope that the bill is moved out of committee and passed. It would create a more efficient system, save money and help to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century.

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