While sportsmen hopefully cheer for the Pirates and suffer with the Curve, there are still important things to accomplish to have a successful upcoming hunting season.
Any new hunter this season must complete the Hunter Education program before obtaining the first hunting license and being able to apply for antlerless licenses. These classes are filling fast so don't procrastinate about this chore. Go to the Game Commission's website for a list of locations and times for these classes.
Resting or hunting?
The issue of Sunday hunting has been on the back burner for awhile now but there is an organized group determined to force the resolution to the question.
HUNT - Hunters United For Sunday Hunting - is a registered, non-profit charitable organization that has a Facebook page and a website that is pushing hard for Sunday hunting. In fact, they sent a letter to the Game Commission last May that they intended to institute a lawsuit and apparently they have now done so.
Their stated goal is to overturn the Sunday hunting ban, the last "blue law" in Pennsylvania that restricts an otherwise lawful recreational activity on Sundays. As I understand it, this lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the ban on Sunday hunting.
We have seen a lot of things challenged in this way in recent times and perhaps this is the way to success on this question as well.
There are a few things we can hunt on Sundays currently: crows, coyotes and foxes. But how much time does the average sportsman spend pursuing those species on Sunday or any other day? They offer challenge, no doubt about that. These predator species are sharp-eyed, keen-witted and wily. Calling skills are required to pull them in to range but they don't offer food for the table so only a few specialists really purse them with any regularity.
So if this ban on Sunday hunting is found to be unconstitutional, it will open the door for the activity whether hunters like it or not. One point the pro-Sunday hunters make is that since the number of new hunters is lower than the number of hunters dropping out of the sport Sunday hunting could be a good way to recruit more new hunters.
Perhaps but I really wonder about that. I think the decreasing number of new hunters is due to the lack of game and the lack of people to mentor new hunters than the mere fact that they can't hunt on Sundays. Believe me, Sundays offer more conflicts than you can count, what with every kind of sport and practice for the sport now taking place on Sundays. Family vacations, picnics, reunions, church camps and other activities all vie for time on Sundays.
I am really neutral on the subject. I don't have time to hunt on Sundays since I am very busy and engaged in other activities on that day. It does seem to be an imposition on private landowners to now have the only day during any hunting season that they feel they can enjoy their own land without fear of running into hunters opened by law.
However, they can post their land against it and many landowners, who are staunchly opposed to Sunday hunting, will no doubt post their land permanently in retaliation. And who can blame them for that?
And with Chronic Wasting Disease spreading through the state, how will Sunday hunting impact that problem? This is a deathly serious issue that will be addressed with boundaries, check stations and other measures in what looks as if it will be a futile effort to stem the spread of this disease. Stay tuned, there will be a lot of information about this soon to come.
For more information on the Sunday hunting issue, Google Hunters United for Sunday Hunting and a number of websites will come up and you can get all the information you want and scores of comments from hunters.
Check it out
If you wish to check on the status of your doe license application, you can do it easily. Go to the Game Commission's website and click on the blue box in the upper right corner of the homepage.
That click will take you to The Outdoor Shop, where the first option on the page begins Purchase Fishing and/or Hunting License Permit and or Application. Click on that option, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Start Here. You then will need to enter identifying information, and click Continue.
Next, verify whether you are a resident or nonresident, then scroll to the end of your personal information and choose Check on the status of an Antlerless Deer or Elk Application. Click Continue, and any licenses that have been allocated to you will appear.
Many hunters report they appreciate the ability to check the status of antlerless licenses online. Before the updates were available electronically, hunters curious about an application status needed to contact their banks to see if checks were cashed by a county treasurer.
Hunters also can verify their applications for the elk-license drawing are recorded accurately. The hunters whose names are drawn also can see their status information online. The application period for antlerless deer licenses started July 8, when county treasurers began accepting applications from residents.
Non-resident applications for regular antlerless deer licenses will be accepted beginning on July 29. After that, residents and nonresidents may apply for the first round of unsold antlerless deer licenses on Aug. 5, then a second round of unsold antlerless deer licenses on Aug. 19.
Hunters may apply over-the-counter to county treasurers for any other WMU with antlerless licenses for sale on Oct. 7. Updated allocation totals for antlerless deer licenses also are available at the Game Commission website. Select Doe License Update from the Quick Clicks box along the right side of the homepage.
This update provides a real-time status of antlerless license allocations and availability by WMU, and helps license applicants to determine which WMUs to list as their first, second and third preferences when they submit applications.