Beginning this coming Friday, those who enjoy hunting crows, groundhogs and coyotes will need to have their 2011-12 Pennsylvania hunting license.

Yes, the 2011-12 license year begins July 1, and hunting and furtaker licenses are now on sale their the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Pennsylvania Automated License System, over-the-counter at issuing agents, county treasurer's offices and all PGC region offices and its Harrisburg headquarters. In addition, licenses can be purchased through the PALS website at www.pa.wildlifelicense.com [1].

Another reason for purchasing a hunting license early is that applications for the regular round of antlerless deer licenses for residents begins Monday, July 11, and for nonresidents beginning Monday, July 25. An antlerless license application will be printed with every general license purchased, and an application also will be available in the "2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest," which is provided with each license purchase, for the first and second round of unsold antlerless deer licenses.

Both resident and nonresident hunters may apply for the first round of unsold antlerless licenses beginning Monday, Aug. 1. Applications for the second round of unsold antlerless licenses will begin Monday, Aug. 15.

Except for Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, hunters may only apply for one license during each application period. Hunters applying for antlerless licenses in WMU 2B, 5C and 5D may apply for an unlimited number of antlerless deer licenses beginning August 1, however, the limit of three per envelope remains in effect.

PGC executive director Carl Roe reminds hunters that, under state law, only Pennsylvania county treasurers may issue antlerless deer licenses. Because of PALS, however, county treasurers now may issue an antlerless deer license for any WMU, so long as its allocation is not sold out.

"Hunters will need to continue using pink envelopes to mail antlerless deer license applications to the county treasurer of their choice to process the applications and mail back antlerless deer licenses," Roe said. "Hunters will have the option of listing their first, second and third WMU preferences for doe licenses on their applications.

"Treasurers will fill the highest WMU preference listed by the hunter. This option will eliminate reapplication for a doe license if your first WMU preference – or second – is sold out, however, hunters do not need to list alternative WMUs if they only plan to hunt in one specific WMU."

A list of the mailing addresses for the 65 county treasurers that issue antlerless deer licenses is included in the 2011-12 Digest. Philadelphia and Lehigh counties have opted out of issuing antlerless deer licenses and more details on the new procedures for applying for a doe license can be found in the Digest and the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us [2].

Roe noted that all license-issuing agents now are part of an integrated, real-time, cyber network that allows them to offer some specialty licenses that prior to 2009 could not be provided by all issuing agents under the old license system. While the price of licenses has remained the same since 1999, there is a 70-cent PALS transaction fee.

"All license agents now can issue senior lifetime licenses, Mentored Youth Hunting Program permits, elk-drawing applications, bobcat and fisher permits, resident landowner reduced-fee hunting licenses and Deer Management Assistance Program Harvest permits," Roe said. "Hunters also can purchase the special spring gobbler license, which allows them to harvest a second gobbler in the 2012 spring gobbler season."

Waterfowl and migratory game bird seasons are not included in the 2011-12 Digest, as those seasons are not established until mid-August. Once seasons are set, the PGC will produce the annual "Guide to Migratory Game Bird Hunting" brochure, which will be posted on the agency's website and mailed to U.S. Post Offices.