How to Get a Pennsylvania Hunting License

You Must Have License for Capturing or Killing All Wildlife

A hunter standing in a field, wielding a shotgun.
Yves Adams / Getty Images

When the air begins to get that chill of fall, if you are a hunter, then your thoughts might often turn to that overwhelming feeling that it is time to hunt deer, turkey, black bear, elk, or small game like squirrels, rabbits, grouse, pheasants, or quail. In Pennsylvania, you must hold a valid license to legally hunt, trap, take, or kill wildlife. Licenses are valid from July 1 through the following June 30.

How to Get a License

You can register for a hunting license by visiting your local county treasurer's office or the office of the Southwest Pennsylvania Game Commission in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

You can also buy a license online; it could take as long as 10 days to be delivered to you.

You can also apply through most local sporting goods stores from July through January.

Both residents and nonresidents can also order a hunting license by fax or through the mail. 

License Qualifications

To qualify for a resident license, you must live in Pennsylvania for at least 30 consecutive days before the application and produce positive proof of residency.

If you are a first-time license buyer, you must successfully complete a Hunter-Trapper Education Course and produce a valid Hunter-Trapper Education Card.

You must be at least 12 years old to hunt in Pennsylvania. Eleven-year-olds can apply for a junior license if they will reach age 12 by December 31 of the current license year and have completed the required Hunter-Trapper Education Course.

Senior licenses are available to qualified applicants age 65 or older. If you are 64 you can apply for a senior license if you will reach age 65 by June 30 of the current license year. Senior lifetime licenses are also available.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident and a disabled veteran, you qualify for a free hunting license. 

Guest or Visitor License

If you are visiting from out of state and want to hunt in Pennsylvania, you can get a seven-day non-resident small game license, as well as all of the standard hunting licenses.

Have Your License With You

Hunting and fur taker licenses must be signed in ink. It used to be required that you wear your license on your outer clothing, but as long as you have it with you, that is enough. Hunters and trappers should be careful to not mistakenly place their licenses in the dryer or near any source of heat, as it will cause the material to shrivel and turn black. Also, do not keep it in the dashboard of your car, the paper is heat sensitive and can become illegible.

You are also required to bring a form of identification with you that shows your residence. A valid Pennsylvania motor vehicle driver's license or non-driver identification card issued through the Motor Vehicle Department is the most acceptable form of identification to certify you are a resident.

Hunting Rules

There are many rules for hunting, etiquette, and safety issues you have that makes a hunting education course required.

Rather than go through all the rules that you would learn in the education course, keep in mind a few things:

  • Hunting is forbidden on Sunday, except for foxes, crows, or coyotes
  • There are limits as to how many animals you can kill or capture in a day
  • There are seasons or windows of dates that you are allowed to hunt certain game
  • Be mindful of private property lines and ask the owner for access to their land if you want to hunt on their land
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