Hunting, fishing license fees increase — sort of

Posted on: June 13, 2016 | Bob Frye | Comments

Doe 4To avoid getting their applications rejected, hunters will want to make sure they pay attention to the “cost” of doe licenses.

It costs more to buy a hunting and/or fishing license in Pennsylvania now than it did even two weeks ago.

Prices went up as of June 1.

Sort of.

The price of license themselves haven’t increased, though that’s likely coming sooner rather than later. The Pennsylvania Game and Fish and Boat commissions are seeking – and may soon get – the ability to raise the fees they charge.

What has changed already is the fee sportsmen pay to the company that maintains the computerized PALS, or Pennsylvania automated licensing system.

In years past, sportsmen paid a 70-cent transaction fee for every license bought. As of June 1, under terms of a new contract, they’re paying 90 cents.

What that means is every price that ended in 70 cents – such as $20.70 for a resident hunting license, or $22.70 for a resident fishing license – now ends in 90 cents.

Few anglers will feel that before year’s end. The Fish and Boat Commission typically has sold 75 percent of its licenses by June 1, “so the slight increase will impact about 25 percent of our customers this year,” said agency press secretary Rick Levis.

Hunting licenses for 2016-17 go on sale on June 20, though, so hunters and trappers will see the increase right away. Deer hunters will especially want to take note.

“This will be particularly important for doe license applications, which will cost $6.90,” said Travis Lau, press secretary for the Game Commission.

The time period to apply for doe licenses is fasting approaching.

State residents can apply for a doe tag, by mail only, starting on July 11. Non-residents get their first crack at them on July 18.

All can apply for first-round unsold licenses on Aug. 1, and for second-round unsold licenses on Aug. 15.

Doe tags go on sale over the counter in wildlife management units 2B, 5C and 5D on Aug. 22. Everywhere else, over-the-counter sales begin on Oct. 3.

The deadline to apply for an elk license, meanwhile, is July 31.

Now, as for how many doe tags a hunter can get …

There seemed to be some confusion over this last year, though the rules haven’t changed and are explained in the hunting digest each hunter gets.

Lau said hunters may get three doe licenses annually. The exception is when it comes to units 2B, 5C and 5D. There’s no limit on how many licenses a hunter can get in those places.

So, a hunter can have one doe tag each for units 2F, 2G and 2H, and still get as many tags as they want to hunt 2B, for example. But they can’t get a tag for each of 2F, 2G and 2H, then get another for 1A.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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Bob Frye is a storyteller with a passion for all things outdoors. He hunts, he fishes, he hikes, he camps, he paddles, backpacks and snowshoes depending on the season. If he’s not an expert at anything, it’s because he’s passionate to try a little bit of everything.