HARRISBURG – Tuesday, the Pennsylvania 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, and the new opportunity will take effect for the upcoming 2011-12 deer seasons.

In April, the Board gave preliminary approval to the regulatory change so it would be in a position to take final action if the enabling legislation was signed into law before its June meeting.

Senate Bill 274, sponsored by Senate Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Richard Alloway II, was unanimously approved by the Senate on May 2, and then the House on June 15. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill into law on June 24, making it Act 9 of 2011.

At its October meeting, the Board unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by Game Commissioner Jay Delaney, to support legislative efforts to allow adult mentors to transfer one antlerless deer license or permit to a youth under the age of 12 participating in the MYHP.

“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. “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 D. Robbins, back in 2006.”

While mentored youth still may not apply for an antlerless deer license, the new regulation authorizes 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. A mentored youth may receive no more than one antlerless deer license in a 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 the report card. The report does not need to indicate that a mentored youth used the antlerless deer license.

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, coyotes, antlered and antlerless 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.

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