Changing it up

Game Commission alters process for antlerless sales in light of lines, server crashes

Changes to the antlerless license sale process aim to reduce the long lines and server crashes.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission shifted the antlerless process away from each county treasurer’s office to an online model last year. The end result was long lines and server crashes as the system was crushed by hunters across the state. Licenses will be sold over the counter and online for three wildlife management units, or WMUs, including 1B which includes western Warren County along with 2B and 3A, starting on June 24 at 8 a.m.

For three days, those will be the only WMUs available. Those were selected because they “typically sell out the fastest and drive much of the customer demand seen at the start of sales.”

Licenses in those WMUs will be sold on a first come, first serve basis until sold out. Sales in the remaining 19 WMUs will go on sale Thursday, June 27 at 8 a.m. The Game Commission is guaranteeing a license for residents in those other WMUs.

“Residents seeking licenses in any of these WMUs won’t need to wait in line for them,” the commission explained. “They’ll be guaranteed to get one, as long as they buy before 7 a.m. on Monday, July 8, when the resident-only portion of the first round of sales ends.”

The nonresident portion of the sale will then begin at 8 a.m. on July 8. At that point, “all remaining antlerless licenses will be sold on a first come, first serve basis until the allocated number of licenses is exhausted.”

“Their theory is that if you hunt another WMU then you do not need to be buying licenses the first week of sales,” Warren County Treasurer Lisa Barr said.

The other WMU in Warren County – 2F – “will go on sale the second week,” Barr explained. “These two areas in our county do sell out rather quickly.”

She is supportive of the shift to the online sales model, generally.

“Game Commission is trying to update the process and get with the times of online sales,” Barr said. “It’s a nice option for some but we still have so many who do not use online as well as our Amish community in our area. We also offer Disabled Veterans and Active military options that other vendors and online sales do not offer.”

In light of last year’s challenges, will the changes made this week work?

Barr said it will depend on hunter behavior.

“If they all rush… online to purchase a license it will indeed slow things down,” she said. “This may help some but I would suspect they still have many that will purchase online opening day of sales whether or not they hunt those specific areas.”

Barr said they saw instances last year where hunters purchased licenses online and never received the tags in the mail.

“I do hope we still see our hunters in person as we can process the license and physically hand the tags to them,” Barr said. “Also, with four registers we should keep the foot traffic moving at a good pace. Sales start at 8 a.m. and I assume traffic will be busy the first two days of each week then will stagger down.

“Outside of beginning antlerless license sales for high-demand WMUs first, the sales schedule and process is similar to last year,” the PGC said in a statement. “A hunter is limited to buying one antlerless license per round in the first three rounds.”

Subsequent rounds of sales will open on July 22, Aug. 12 and Aug. 26.

“Science-based antlerless license allocations are set within each WMU to achieve deer-management goals,” the Commission says.


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