What Pennsylvania hunters need to know about buying 2021-22 antlerless deer licenses

It's almost time for Pennsylvania hunters to send in their applications for antlerless deer licenses.

Deer season is still months away, but hunters who will need antlerless deer licenses in 2021-22 will soon need to fill out and send in their applications.

Resident hunters may apply for their first antlerless deer license beginning Monday, July 12.

Nonresidents may submit their first application a week later, beginning Monday, July 19.

Hunters submitting applications should take note that the amount they pay for an antlerless license has increased slightly this year. While license fees haven’t increased since 1999, the vendor that operates Pennsylvania licensing system collects a fee for each license issued. That fee has increased this year – from 90 to 97 cents.

Pennsylvania antlerless deer licenses now cost $6.97 for residents and $26.97 for nonresidents.

While the total amount now is only pennies higher than before, the change is an important one for hunters submitting antlerless-license applications. Checks or money orders written for an improper amount result in an application being rejected. So be sure to confirm you’re using a 2021-22 application and envelope that reflect the present fees of $6.97 and $26.97.

Up to three applications can be submitted using the same envelope. Those submitting two resident applications now must include a check for $13.94. Three resident applications total $20.91.

Applicants must make checks and money orders payable to “County Treasurer.”

A list of participating county treasurers and their addresses can be found within the 2021-22 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which is provided to all license buyers and available to view online.

Applications that are in any way incomplete, including being sent without proper remittance, will be rejected and returned to the applicant. Applications received before the Monday start of any round also will be returned to sender.

Second round of sales: In any Wildlife Managament Unit where antlerless licenses remain, resident and nonresident applicants may apply for a second license beginning Aug. 2, and a third license Aug. 16.

Applications during those rounds are accepted by mail only, and must be mailed with proper remittance in an official pink envelope, which ordinarily is provided by the license-issuing agent at the time a general hunting license is purchased.

A hunter first must purchase a general license to be eligible to apply for an antlerless deer license. Hunters who purchased their general license online, but haven’t yet received it, can obtain an antlerless-deer license application through the white-tailed deer page at www.pgc.pa.gov and go to any license-issuing agent to pick up an official pink envelope.

The total number of antlerless licenses has been reduced from 932,000 to 925,000 for 2021-22, meaning licenses could sell out at a faster pace this year. But where licenses remain, hunters in many cases can apply for more of them than they did in years past.

Hunters now can hold up to six unfilled antlerless licenses at a time, and can apply for additional licenses as they harvest deer and report them.

Over-the-counter sales: Over-the-counter sales of antlerless deer licenses for any Wildlife Management Unit where they remain begin Sept. 13. During this period, licenses for any WMU can be purchased from any county treasurer, either in person or through the mail.

Since hunters statewide may hold up to six antlerless deer licenses at a time, and hunters may obtain no more than three antlerless deer licenses during the initial mail-in rounds, each hunter will qualify for at least three additional licenses at the time over-the-counter sales begin, although licenses in many WMUs will be sold out by then. Applications made by mail during the over-the-counter sales period can be submitted through the same process as in earlier mail-in rounds, though hunters may submit more than one application at a time until the six-license limit is reached.

When applying by mail, a hunter may submit up to three applications per envelope. If a hunter qualifies to purchase more than three licenses during the over-the-counter sales period, and chooses to make application by mail, separate envelopes will need to be mailed. Group applications (no more than three applications total per envelope) also may be made by mail during the over-the-counter sales period.

Mentored program: Once again this year, participants in Pennsylvania’s mentored hunting program who are at least 7 years old can apply for their own antlerless deer licenses and Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits, which can be used to harvest antlerless deer on specific properties. In years past, mentored hunters could harvest antlerless deer, but only if their hunting mentor held a valid antlerless license or DMAP permit and transferred the permit to the mentored hunter following harvest. Mentored hunters under 7 cannot apply for their own antlerless tags and must continue to receive them by transfer.

As is the case with hunting licenses, mentored hunters over 7 must have valid mentored hunting permits before applying for antlerless licenses or DMAP permits. Qualifying mentored hunters may purchase no more than one antlerless deer license.

Information for this story was provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.