By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks)
With the change of seasons comes the anticipation of many residents to hit the woods and begin the long tradition of hunting in the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania boasts one of the largest hunting populations in the country, with nearly 1 million hunting licenses sold each year. We are blessed with an abundance of state parks, game lands, forests, and mountains that are home to everything from fox, turkey, deer, and bear.
To help pass on the love of hunting to future generations, Pennsylvania offers the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, which is available to teach children under age 12 the sport of hunting. A mentor may accompany only one youth in the field and only one firearm can be used by the pair, with the mentor carrying the firearm until the pair comes to a stop. A mentored youth planning to participate in the program must obtain a Mentored Youth Hunting Permit, which may be purchased at any license issuing agent or online for $2.90. Both residents and non-residents can purchase this specific permit.
In order to expose adults who may be new to the sport, the Commonwealth also offers the Mentored Adult Hunting Program. This program allows adults 18 years of age or older, who have never hunted before, to participate and learn about hunting through the experience of a licensed hunter mentor. Adults who wish to participate in the program must obtain a permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission at a cost of $20.90 for residents or $101.90 for non-residents.
For those individuals wishing to purchase a hunting license, the Pennsylvania Game Commission hosts hunter training courses on a regular basis. The course is required by law for all first-time hunters and trappers before they can purchase a license. It is important to note, however, that the Hunter-Trapper Education courses are not required for a youth to participate in the mentored hunting program.
If you are interested in registering for a class, please go to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website at pgc.pa.gov
and click on the “Hunter-Trapper Education” link.
Once in the field, many hunters may enjoy the new GoHuntPA Toolkit, which is a free app available through the www.GoHuntPA.org website. The app provides information on huntable tracts of state game lands, habitat, and wildlife in the area, and maps showing terrain and access points at game lands statewide. Hunters can also check weather and daylight conditions, view hunting regulations, seasons and bag limits, and post pictures through Instagram. There is also an SOS safety feature allowing users to notify friends and family of the exact GPS coordinates in the event of an emergency.
To help support hunting in the Commonwealth, a Hunting Heritage specialty license plate is available for purchase. The cost is $56, with $25 of that amount going to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to help fund various initiatives.
Commemorative patches and decals featuring the Hunting Heritage logo are also available for $5.66 and $2.83, respectively.
To order a license plate, patches or decals, go to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website at pgc.state.pa.us
To all the hunters heading out this year, stay safe!
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman