HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe praised the General Assembly Thursday for approving a bill that would allow for one antlerless deer license per license year to be transferred to youth participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.
Senate Bill 274, sponsored by Senate Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Richard Alloway II, was unanimously approved by the Senate on May 2, and was unanimously approved in the House on June 15. The bill will be sent to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk to await his action.
“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,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “This new opportunity will expand an already popular program, which was created by legislation authored by Sen. Robert D. Robbins, back in 2006.”
In anticipation of enactment of this bill, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, on April 12, took the first regulatory step toward allowing an adult mentor to transfer an antlerless deer license to a Mentored Youth Hunting Program participant. If the bill is signed by Gov. Corbett before the end of the Board meeting on June 28, the Board is positioned to final action on the regulatory change so that it can take effect for the upcoming 2011-12 deer seasons.
At its October meeting, the Board unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by Game Commissioner Jay Delaney, to support legislative efforts to allow for adult mentors to transfer one antlerless deer license or permit to a youth under the age of 12 participating in the MYHP.
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.
The regulations require that the mentor-to-mentored youth ratio be one-to-one, and that the pair possesses only one sporting arm when hunting. While moving, the sporting arm must be carried by the mentor. When the pair reaches a stationary hunting location, 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.
Legal species presently approved for the MYHP are squirrels, groundhogs, coyote, antlered deer and spring gobbler.
All youth participating in the MYHP must obtain a permit through the Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS), which costs $2.70. Of that fee, one dollar goes to the Game Commission, one dollar goes to the issuing agent who processes the permit application, and 70 cents goes to the company managing PALS.