Pennsylvania hunters should heed Samuel L. Jackson’s warning

A series of television commercials that have become familiar by now feature Samuel L. Jackson asking viewers, ”What’s in your wallet?”

The spots advertise the Capital One Cashback Card, but they have special significance to hunters in Pennsylvania. That’s because a regulation recently approved by Pennsylvania game commissioners makes the carrying of all expired licenses and tags illegal.

The action aims to reduce the illegal taking of deer.

According to the commission, the agency’s wildlife conservation officers often encounter hunters and trappers who still are in possession of expired licenses and tags from the previous year. And in some cases, those in possession of expired licenses and tags are carrying them with the intention to use them unlawfully to tag an animal taken in the current season.

Game Commissioners addressed the problem at their April 5 meeting by voting to make it unlawful to possess any license or big-game tag from a previous license year while engaged in hunting or trapping activities. 

Licenses and tags that have been fulfilled, revoked or suspended also have been made unlawful to possess in the field.

Commissioners noted that the color of hunting licenses now can’t be changed from year to year to make it easier for hunters to know which tags are valid. The electronic point of sale  system through which hunting licenses are issued is operated jointly in Pennsylvania by the Game Commission and the state Fish & Boat Commission.

Because the license years for hunting and fishing licenses start and end at different times, hunting and fishing licenses for different license years are issued at the same time, meaning the color for each must remain consistent, Game Commission staff  explained.

Although the new regulation has been widely reported, there so far has been little discussion of the change among hunters, which means come fall when seasons roll around lots of folks won’t be in compliance.

There seems to be a predilection among most all of us to keep  old documents – whether they are expired car registrations and insurance cards in our glove compartments or old hunting licenses in our wallets or plastic pin-on tag holders.

Commissioners have promised that wildlife conservation officers will use discretion in enforcing the new regulation this year and can tell the difference between bad actors intending to tag extra deer and honest nimrods who are just forgetful – implying lots of warning will be written this year.

Maybe, but I think it would be better if Pennsylvania hunters listened to Samuel L. Jackson and cleaned out their wallets (and pin-on license holders) before July when the new license year begins.


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