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Thursday, October 22, 2015

McKean County Treasurer Opposes Bill To Remove Antlerless Hunting Licenses From County Treasurers


I am writing to voice my opposition to House Bill 231 PN 225 which removes the issuance of antlerless hunting licenses from the County Treasurers.

House Bill 231 is a one page bill that changes the authorized issuing agents from the County Treasurers to the Game Commission or by “agents designated by the director” of the PGC using the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System. That’s all the bill says. The PGC has no plan in place that describes how it or its “designated agents” will implement the processing of over 700,000 antlerless licenses each year.

Who might the director of the PGC choose as a designated agent? Big box stores? Treasurer’s Offices across the Commonwealth have cleaned up and corrected hunter profile problems in the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System that are too numerous to count. Many of the problems are caused by other issuing agents like the big box stores, whose staff is untrained and unversed in the hunting laws; unlike the county treasurer’s staff. 

The AP story that ran in the Times Leader Wednesday (10/21/15) quotes Representative Mullery as saying that hunters should be able to obtain an antlerless license online. If only the internet is utilized, it will discriminate against the elderly, the Amish, and others who do not have internet access.

The loss of revenue to the Counties is considerable. Over $700,000 a year. It will cause expenses to rise for every county (and their taxpayers) involved in the process. Who will the PGC select to make that profit? Big box stores? Or will the PGC be hiring and training more staff? Who will help our active military personnel home on leave?

The County Treasurers’ Offices across the Commonwealth play an essential and vital role in the issuance of antlerless hunting licenses. HB 231 will dismantle the system of customer service and assistance provided by the treasurers through the antlerless license process. 

The Home Rule Charter of Luzerne County removed all licensing from the Treasurer’s Office. Licensing became its own department in October of 2013. Yes, the County struggled with the antlerless licensing process in 2014. Many lessons were learned, and this year the process went very smoothly. An established, successful and properly administered process should not be cast aside because one county failed to adequately administer the process one time. 

My Staff is dedicated and a highly knowledgeable group of workers who go the extra mile to help the hunters. They represent the McKean County Treasurer’s Office by taking pride in their work and they perform their duties with zest. They understand how important doe licenses are to the hunters and they also understand that HB 231 will place the doe licensing process in jeopardy and will negatively impacting the hunters.

I respectfully ask our elected representatives in the PA House of Representatives to cast a NO vote opposing HB 231 PN 225. Our hunters are counting on you!


Mary Jo Sherwood
McKean County Treasurer

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