Pennsylvanians who line up to purchase new hunting licenses as soon as they go on sale often are driven by a desire to obtain special property-specific permits to hunt and harvest antlerless deer.
The only problem is that those permits, issued as part of the Deer Management Assistance Program, or DMAP, in some cases aren’t available when license sales begin.
It’s a scenario the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners is looking to change.
The board on Tuesday voted to bump up the application deadline for landowners interested in taking part in the DMAP program. By requiring landowner applications to be submitted by May 1 — a month earlier than the current deadline — the commissioners hope all permits for all DMAP properties will be available when licenses go on sale.
The Game Commission also would speed up its distribution of application forms to landowners, making the forms available at each of the agency’s regional offices by Feb. 15 of each year.
“This change will benefit hunters, but there may be some confusion for landowners,” said Chris Rosenberry, who heads up the Game Commission’s Deer and Elk Section. “In an effort to reduce potential problems, we will be sending letters and applications to landowners who participated in DMAP to assist them in making this transition.”
DMAP provides an additional means for qualifying landowners to manage deer to meet their specific land-use goals. DMAP permits can be used only to harvest antlerless deer on the properties for which the permits are issued.
The DMAP permits hunters obtain are separate from the antlerless licenses sent out by county treasurers, and DMAP permits are not counted as part of the three-license limit that exists for antlerless licenses in most parts of the state.
Hunters can get up to two DMAP permits per property.
DMAP permits can be purchased through the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System (PALS), but because some properties make only a handful of permits available, securing a permit can be a challenge. That’s why many of the hunters who seek DMAP permits each year buy their hunting licenses on the first day of sales annually – the second Monday of June.
Based on the application schedule that had been used, however, permits for many DMAP properties weren’t available to purchase until late June, or even early July.
And if permits for a specific property weren’t available right away, interested hunters had few options but to check back at a later time.
“This change is one of convenience for hunters,” Rosenberry said. “Now hunters will be able to purchase all of their hunting licenses and DMAP permits at one time.”