Mullery wants to make it easier to get deer hunting license

Second bill would increase penalty for body-gripping traps

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – Deer hunters could apply for their licenses online and the penalty for illegally setting body-gripping traps would be increased under two bills introduced this week by state Rep. Gerald Mullery.

“In light of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s recent updates to the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System, we now have the ability to ensure that hunters have a more convenient and efficient way of applying for and receiving hunting licenses. I believe that we should transfer the antlerless deer license application process from counties to the PGC through the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System. This will make the process of obtaining a license much more convenient for all Pennsylvanians,” said Mullery, who serves as Democratic vice chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

The current system is managed by the PGC, responsible for determining the number of antlerless licenses to be allocated, while the actual distribution of permits is the responsibility of each county treasurer's office. When applying for a doe license, hunters across the state fill out a form, write a check and submit it to the county treasurer, normally the one in their home county.

However, Mullery said the current system is outdated and doesn’t always work because there are some counties that don’t always have the financial resources or staff to process applications in a timely manner.

In an effort to better protect dogs and other domestic animals, Mullery introduced another bill that would increase the penalty for illegally setting body-gripping traps.

State law requires all body-gripping traps to be set inside an established watercourse, waterway, marsh, pond, or dam. Unfortunately, body-gripping traps are often illegally placed outside these water locations, inadvertently luring dogs and other domestic animals, which are often seriously injured or killed by the traps, according to Mullery.

“The frequency and severity of this problem prompted the Pennsylvania Game Commission to restrict the size of openings for these traps in an effort to reduce the number of domestic animals being killed or injured by them. Even with this size restriction, I believe it is necessary to strengthen the penalty for those who place these traps in unapproved and illegal locations,” Mullery said.

A violation of the current law is punishable by a fine of up to $200. Mullery’s bill would raise the penalty to a fine of up to $1,500 and up to three months in prison.