HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today praised Gov. Tom Corbett for signing into law a bill that allows adult mentors to transfer one antlerless deer license per license year to a 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.
“This new opportunity will expand an already popular program, which was created by legislation authored by Sen. Robert D. Robbins, back in 2006,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “We also want to offer our thanks to Sen. Alloway for championing this bill, as well as House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman John Evans for guiding this measure through the House.”
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. The Board now is positioned to take final action on the regulatory change so that it can take effect for the upcoming 2011-12 deer seasons.
While mentored youth still may not apply for an antlerless deer license, the regulatory proposal up for final adoption would authorize adult mentors to transfer one antlerless deer license to an eligible mentored youth. The antlerless license must be valid and in the possession of the adult mentor at all times while hunting. The transfer of the antlerless license may not occur until after the mentored youth has harvested the antlerless deer. At that time, the license is to be transferred to the mentored youth to complete the harvest information and attach the carcass tag. Each mentored youth may receive no more than one antlerless deer license each license year.
Following the hunt, the adult mentor must report the harvest through the Game Commission’s online harvest reporting system, the toll-free telephone harvest reporting number or mail in report card. The report does not need to indicate that a mentored youth used the antlerless deer license.
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.
Jerry Feaser (717) 705-6541 or PGCNews@state.pa.us