Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pennsylvania 2013 Elk License Allocations Announced

26 Bull Tags Issued For 2013 Season
In News Release 026-13  dated April 15, 2013, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the 2013-14 hunting license year, seasons and bag limits.  We will consider only the elk license allocations in today's post.  Click the above link to read the full details on the PGC Website.

Elk season will be from Nov. 4-9 in 201, with an extended season running from Nov. 11-16. This season is for both antlered and antlerless elk and is held in designated areas only for elk license holders who did not kill an elk during the regular season. A special Conservation Tag hunt will be held from Sept. 2-Nov. 9 for the successful bidder for the tag, which was auctioned this year by The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

86 tags were issued for 2013, which includes 26 bull tags and 60 antlerless tags. The allocation does not include the Conservation Elk Tag.  Since it is almost certain that the successful bidder will kill a bull, this effectively means 27 bull tags and a total of 87 tags. This is a marked increase from 2012 when 19 Bull tags and 46 antlerless tags were  issued for a total of 65 licenses.Also, compare this with the 2011 total of 56 tags which included tags for 18 bulls and 38 cows  (Considering the Conservation Elk Tag this was in actuality 19 bull tags and a total of 57 licenses) and we notice a continuing upward trend in licenses issued, which corresponds to the steady increase in the  elk population.

Approximate Map of Hunt Zones In Recent Years-2 More Zones Added This Year--Source: W. Hill-"The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd
This year also saw the addition of two more hunt zones.  In recent years there have been 10  Elk Hunt Zones (EHZ) with EHZ 1 being open to anyone with an elk license.  This has also been the case with an area known as the open zone.  At this point it is unclear just what the boundaries of EHZs 11 and 12 are, but it is likely that it has something to do with the realignment of EHZs around Weedville where there are  ongoing problems with elk in town and elk/vehicle collisions on Routes 255 and 555. WCO Doty McDowell reports in the March 22, 2013 edition of the Courier Express that the area around Weedville is no longer in the corner of three separate EHZs, but is now mainly in one EHZ.  He goes on to note in the article that the allocation has been increased in the Weedville area.

Hunt Zone Realignment-Allocations Designed To Address Elk/Human Conflict Weedville Area

Elk Cross Quehanna Highway At Medix Run

Below is a chart, which lists the allocations for each EHZ in 2013 and 2012.  The Conservation tag is not taken into account in this chart. Areas with 0 allocations are considered closed to elk hunting this year.  As of yet I have no map of the revised EHZs so one can only speculate about the location of Zone 11 and 12.  It seems reasonably safe to assume that the other EHZs will be at least in the same general area as in the past, but this is by no means guaranteed and it is very possible that the EHZ boundaries may be changed to a certain extent even if they remain the same overall.


Zone Antlered Antlerless
Antlered Antlerless
2 3 10
3 12
3 2 6
1 2
4 3 2
1 1
5 4 11
0 0
6 3 12
0 0
7 0 0
4 10
8 1 1
2 7
9 1 4
4 10
10 3 5
4 4
11 1 1

12 5 8

Source: Prepared by W. Hill from the 2012-13 Hunting and Trapping Digest and PGC News Release 026-13.

Assuming that the zones remain much the same, it appears that the herd on Winslow Hill will receive about the same amount of hunting pressure as last year, with two less antlerless elk being targeted.  Zones 5&6, which are located on the eastern edge of the elk range were closed last year, but are open this year, with 15 tags issued for each, while EHZ 7 which is directly west of EHZ 6 is closed this year, but had 14 tags issued last year.  At this point it is not clear just what this all means and it will be interesting to see the 2013 EHZ map, which should make the situation more clear and aid in analyzing the impact these changes will have on elk related tourism.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.