Eat, Play, Live

Sports and Recreation: Hunting and Fishing

Joe Young, of Centre Hall, walks to his hunting spot in Rothrock State Forest on Dec. 1, 2014, for opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania.
Joe Young, of Centre Hall, walks to his hunting spot in Rothrock State Forest on Dec. 1, 2014, for opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania. CDT file photo

In Pennsylvania, it is unlawful to hunt or trap wildlife without the required licenses.

Hunters who apply for the yearly general hunting license must present a previous license from any state or prove they’ve attended hunter-trapper education courses.

The classes include a minimum of 6 hours of training. The Central Pennsylvania Hunter Education Association offers courses in Centre County, which include instruction in how to handle shotguns, rifles and archery equipment.

They are open to hunters age 11 and older. In Pennsylvania, a hunter must be at least 12 years old by June 30 to qualify for a junior license, but must wait until his or her birthday to begin hunting.

A schedule of hunter-trapper education sessions can be viewed at the state Game Commission website.

A state-approved online course is available to those age 16 or older. It typically takes 4-6 hours to complete the online course, excluding tests.

To view the class schedule or sign up for the online course, go to and click on the link to “Game Commission.”


The Pennsylvania Game Commission designates hunting in wildlife management units.

Most of Centre County is in unit 4D, with the section of the county north of Interstate 80 in unit 2G.

Under a split season, only antlered deer can be harvested from Dec. 1-5 in 15 WMUs, including 4D and 2G. From Dec. 6 through 13, antlered and antlerless deer may be hunted.

Hunters with DMAP antlerless deer permits may use them on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season.

Here is a list of primary hunting seasons in Pennsylvania:

Squirrel (red, gray, black and fox): Oct. 17-Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24, Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (6 daily, 18 possession)

Ruffed grouse: Oct. 17-Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24, Dec. 26-Jan. 23 (2 daily, 6 possession)

Rabbit: Oct. 24-Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24, Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (4 daily, 12 possession)

Pheasant: Oct. 24-Nov. 28, Dec. 14-24, Dec. 26-Feb. 29 (2 daily, 6 in possession)

Wild turkey: Oct. 31-Nov. 14 and Nov. 26-28

Black bear: Archery — Nov. 16-20; Rifle Unit 4D — Dec. 2-5; statewide Nov. 21-25

Elk: Nov. 2-7; extended season Nov. 9-14.



Muzzleloader (antlerless only):

•  Flintlock (antlered or antlerless): Dec. 26-Jan. 9

Spring gobbler (bearded bird only): April 30-May 31, 2016

Groundhogs: No closed season, except Sundays and during regular firearm deer season, and no limits.


Hunting information can be found online by going to and clicking on “Game Commission.”

Hunting licenses are valid from July 1 to the next June 30. They must carried while the hunter is in the field, but no longer are required to be worn on the back.

In addition to the general hunting license, licenses are needed to hunt bear, antlerless deer, elk and migratory game birds. They also are needed to pursue deer with a bow or muzzleloader.

Most licenses are sold through Game Commission offices, the state’s 67 county treasurer offices and more than 800 sporting goods stores.

Antlerless licenses go on sale July 14 and are sold directly from the Game Commission and distributed through county treasurer offices. The costs is $6.70 for residents, $26.70 for nonresidents.

Licenses can be purchased online at For information, call the Game Commission’s license division at 717-787-2084. To report game law violations, contact the Northcentral Regional Office at 570-398-4744 or 570-398-4745.

Following is a partial list of the prices:

Hunting license fees:

General furtaker licenses


In Pennsylvania, anyone 16 and older must have a license to fish.

The annual licenses are available at 1,300 issuing agents across the state.

They can be found at sporting goods and department stores as well as at most county treasurer offices, all state Fish and Boat Commission offices and online at

Those who want to fish for trout, a favorite target of local anglers, must also carry trout/salmon stamps.

The license and the stamp must be signed in ink and displayed on an outer garment. Annual fishing licenses and stamps are good through Dec. 31.

Following is a partial list of the prices.

Fishing license fees:

May 24 and July 4 are Fish for Free days for anyone who wants to try the sport without investing in a license.

Statewide, the busiest day of the fishing year is the opening of trout season, which began April 16 and will run until midnight on Labor Day.

The Fish and Boat Commission can be contacted at 359-5100 or 717-705-7800 or online at

Fishing licenses are available at:

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