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Friday, August 29, 2014



Remainder of DMA 2 Antlerless Deer Permits expected to sell quickly.

Antlerless deer licenses are sold out in most of the state’s Wildlife Management Units, and in each unit in southcentral Pennsylvania.

But those who didn’t get a license still have the opportunity to purchase one or more special permits that can be used to take antlerless deer in any deer season within portions of Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Cambria and Fulton counties.

About 5,000 such permits, which were allocated in an effort to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania, remain.

That’s fewer than half of the 13,000 allocated this year, meaning hunters who are looking to get a permit are encouraged to act fast, said Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough.

The application schedule for DMA 2 Antlerless Deer Permits resembles that for regular antlerless licenses, Hough explained. There are a number of different rounds, and applications submitted in those rounds aren’t accepted before the designated start date, he said.

“We’ve already entered the round in which hunters can make application for an unlimited number of permits, meaning the remaining permits could sell out very quickly.”

DMA 2 permits may be used only within the area known as Disease Management Area 2 (DMA 2), which encompasses about 1,600 square miles in Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Cambria and Fulton counties. Portions of three Wildlife Management Units – WMUs 4A, 4D and 2C – lie within DMA 2, and regular antlerless licenses to be used in those WMUs have been sold out for some time.

For hunters within DMA 2, there’s an advantage to holding a permit as opposed to a regular antlerless license. Unlike antlerless licenses, DMA 2 permits can be used within DMA 2 during any deer season. While a hunter in the firearms deer season to begin Dec. 1 must wait until Dec. 6 to harvest an antlerless deer with a regular antlerless license, a hunter with a permit can use it as soon as the season opens.

The permit can be used in any other deer season, as well.

There are some differences between the application process for a DMA 2 permit and that for an antlerless license.

Only residents and nonresidents ages 12 and older with valid general hunting licenses may apply for permits. Participants in Mentored Youth and Mentored Adult hunting programs are ineligible to make application, and the permits cannot be transferred to participants in those programs.

Each permit costs $6.70, and payments must be made by credit card, or check or money order made payable to the “Pennsylvania Game Commission.”

Applications for DMA 2 permits are accepted in two ways – electronically through the Game Commission’s Outdoor Shop, or by mail.

The Outdoor Shop can be accessed at Once entering the Game Commission’s Outdoor Shop, click on “Permits” and select “DMA 2 Antlerless Deer Permit” at the bottom of the permits page. Those making application electronically must pay by major credit card.

Those making application by mail can pay by check, money order or major credit card. Application forms can be obtained at the Game Commission’s website, the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters or any region office.

Applications that are mailed should be placed in a regular envelope. Multiple applications can be sent in one envelope.

The application schedule is now in the third round, when eligible applicants may submit an unlimited number of applications. The round will continue until all permits have been issued.

DMA 2 is the lone area of the state where CWD has been detected in free-ranging deer.

A total of 13,000 permits were made available with the intention of reducing the deer population by one deer per square mile in DMA 2.

Responding to a need identified by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, the permits seek to focus hunting pressure inside the DMA, where deer numbers must be kept in check to slow the potential spread of CWD. At the same time, the permit system enables the Game Commission to avoid a reduction in the deer herd in the area surrounding DMA 2 – where CWD has not been detected.

“Our CWD Management Plan guides us to increase the antlerless deer harvest in areas where CWD has been detected in free-ranging deer,” Hough said. “If we attempted to reach that goal by increasing the allocation of antlerless licenses throughout an entire WMU, or in this case, a number of WMUs, we wouldn’t necessarily achieve the population goal because the license might be used outside the DMA rather than within it.

“With the permits, we can direct hunting pressure more precisely into the area that most needs additional deer harvests,” Hough said.

Those who are issued DMA 2 permits are required to submit reports, regardless of whether they harvest a deer. Harvests must be reported within 10 days. Nonharvests must be reported by Feb. 5. Those who fail to report as required are subject to criminal prosecution and may be ineligible to apply for permits if the program is continued the following year.

Through their reports, hunters provide valuable data that plays a crucial role in the Game Commission’s management of CWD.

Special rules apply to those hunting or residing within a Disease Management Area. Hunters harvesting deer within a DMA should be aware that the deer parts with the highest risk of transmitting CWD – namely, the head and backbone – may not be transported from within the DMA outside the DMA, unless by special exception. Hunters who live outside a DMA in which they hunt should make plans to use a processor or taxidermist within the DMA, or on the Game Commission’s list of approved processors and taxidermists. Dumpsters also have been set up on game lands within DMAs, and hunters who do their own processing can drop off high-risk parts there before transporting the meat and other low-risk parts outside of the DMA.

The feeding of deer and use of urine-based deer attractants are among the other practices prohibited within DMAs. A complete list is available at the Game Commission’s website,

CWD affects members of the cervid, or deer family. It is spread from animal to animal by direct and indirect contact.

Pennsylvania is among 22 states and two Canadian provinces in which CWD has been detected.

CWD is always fatal to the cervids it infects, but there is no evidence the disease can be transmitted to humans.

More information on CWD can be found at the Game Commission’s website.

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