Jefferson Co. has long queues for over-the-counter antlerless deer licenses | New
BROOKVILLE – The Jefferson County Treasurer’s Office sold antlerless deer hunting licenses for the 2D Wildlife Management Unit within about three hours of opening the first over-the-counter sales in the county.
Treasurer James “Moon” VanSteenburg said it was the first time Jefferson County had been able to offer over-the-counter woodless licenses because the Pennsylvania Game Commission advanced the date by about a month. Over-the-counter sales didn’t start until October 5 last year, while this year they were available Monday, September 13, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website.
“This is the first time that there are areas in Jefferson County available for over-the-counter sales,” VanSteenburg said. “Last year or the year before, we had about five days of over-the-counter sales before they sold out.”
He thinks the date change is a big part of why the county might be offering the over-the-counter licenses.
Pennsylvania Game Commission communications director Travis Lau explained that this date had been changed to align all wildlife management units with the dates and deadlines. He said the date had been brought forward in some areas and back in others. In particular, the WMUs around Philadelphia, where the dates were significantly earlier than those in the rest of the state.
“It was all part of the process to bring everything in line with the other counties. Now there is a start date that died in the middle of the time when over-the-counter sales were starting in these three WMUs and the rest of the state, ”Lau said.
All three WMUs near Philadelphia had an early start date of late August, and the rest of them would start in early October. Lau said that adjustment to line everything up was also boosted by the move to a new licensing provider.
“They have one set of rules rather than multiple sets, and that always makes things simpler and more customer-friendly,” Lau said.
VanSteenburg said the county began processing applications for the remaining licenses around 7:30 a.m. and sold the timberless licenses for the 2D Wildlife Management Unit at 10:50 a.m.
“We started at 7:30 am and we had 255 by 9:00 am. By 10:50 am when we sold, we had processed 431 licenses, ”VanSteenburg said.
He also said the office worked around the clock to ensure they completed all applications received in the mail. About 2,100 licenses remained of the 74,000 allocated to the 2D WMU when the office opened for sale on Monday morning.
Lau said this was an increase of 14,000 licenses for the 2D region, which is “significantly up from last year.”
Another change this year is the number of antlerless licenses a hunter can hold and the number he can continue to purchase when he claims to have caught deer.
“Previously, hunters in most of the state were limited to three in total (licenses) and that total has been increased to six,” Lau said. “Anyone who hits their personal limit of six can buy more as they report them. “
VanSteenburg explained that hunters can get one permit per turn for the first three rounds, which means hunters could have a total of three permits by the time counter sales began. That meant hunters could buy three more permits if they wanted to start on Monday, which VanSteenburg said many chose to do.
VanSteenburg said that even though 2D was sold out in the morning, there were still around 5,500 licenses available for the WMU 2E.