HARRISBURG – In what amounted to a case of "If you pass it, we will approve it," the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners took the final regulatory step toward allowing an adult mentor to transfer an antlerless deer license to a Mentored Youth Hunting Program participant at Tuesday's quarterly meeting at agency headquarters.
At last October's quarterly meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by commissioner Jay Delaney to support legislative efforts to allow for adult mentors to transfer one antlerless deer license to a youth under the age of 12 participating in the MYHP. Senate Bill 274, sponsored by Senate Game and Fisheries Committee chairman Richard Alloway II, was unanimously approved by the Senate, May 2, and then the House, June 15, and Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill into law, June 24, making it Act 9 of 2011.
In anticipation of enactment of this bill, the board took the first regulatory step toward allowing an adult mentor to transfer an antlerless deer license to a MYHP participant at its April quarterly meeting.
As a result, Tuesday's final approval allows the new regulation to take effect for the upcoming 2011-12 deer seasons.
In addition to antlerless deer, legal species presently approved for the MYHP are squirrels, groundhogs, coyotes, antlered deer and spring gobbler.
Mentors may transfer only one antlerless permit to the same MYHP participant, but may transfer multiple tags to multiple participants.
MYHP participants receiving an antlerless tag are eligible to hunt in the archery, firearms or muzzleloader seasons.
Deer Management Assistance Program permits may not be transferred to a MHYP participant.
Under the MYHP, a mentor is defined as a properly licensed individual at least 21 years of age who will serve as a guide to a youth while engaged in hunting or related activities, such as scouting, learning firearms or hunter safety and wildlife identification.
A mentored youth is identified as an unlicensed individual less than 12 years of age who is accompanied by a mentor while engaged in hunting or related activities.
Regulations require that the mentor-to-mentored youth ratio be one-to-one, and that the pair possesses only one sporting arm when hunting, which must be carried by the mentor until the pair reaches a stationary hunting location.
When in position, the youth may take possession of the sporting arm, but must remain within arm's length of the adult mentor at all times while in possession of the sporting arm.
All youth participating in the MYHP must obtain a permit through the PGC's Pennsylvania Automated License System, which costs $2.70.
Of that fee, one dollar goes to the agency, one dollar goes to the issuing agent who processes the permit application and 70 cents goes to the company managing PALS.
"We salute Sen. Alloway for championing this bill, as well as House Game and Fisheries Committee chairman John Evans for guiding this measure through the House," PGC executive director Carl Roe said.
"We also praise Gov. Corbett for signing this measure into law to expand an already popular program that was created by legislation authored by Sen. Robert Robbins back in 2006."