BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Antlerless deer hunting season is still months away, but some hunters are finding out they won’t be hunting where they wanted to.
Family tradition is what drives Dennis Myer to hunt each fall in the Allegheny National Forest.
“That is where my camp is and where we go hunting,” says Myer, who got his antlerless deer license application into the Beaver County Courthouse on Monday, July 10.
On that day, the race begins in every County Treasurer’s office in the Commonwealth. Beaver County Treasurer Connie Javens says it’s a competition among the courthouses.
“We’re all competing for the doe licenses especially the ones where there aren’t too many licenses available,” she said.
In an effort to control the deer population, the Pa. Game Commission limits how many can be taken in any particular area. Myer’s choice –the Allegheny National Forest area – is called 2F and is the most in-demand with only 24,000 tags available.
So as soon as the bright pink envelopes arrive, the treasurers get their computers humming. The applications are handled on a first come first served basis, which Javens says has worked for her 26 years in office.
Only Javens has lost four staff members over the past year so this year’s processing has been, she says, “a little slower. Yes, I will admit that a little slower.”
To make matters worse, the game commission put out a list of addresses for each county for the hunters to use to send in their applications and made a mistake. The Bedford County location was assigned Beaver County’s zip code, so many of Bedford’s workload came to Javens’ staff.
Myer says when he checked the state’s computer, he realized that his application was not entered into the system until a week after it was received. By then, the prime 2F area licenses were all taken and he got his second choice.
“Other county treasurers kind of beat them to the punch,” Myer said.
Javens says it was not because her staff wasn’t trying.
“We were working feverishly with a short staff,” she said. “So we started working people overtime when we saw we were falling behind.”
Some staff came in early, others worked through lunch, and by the end of the work day Friday, all the applications had been processed.
That effort doesn’t diminish the disappointment for the hunters who did not get their choice of hunting areas. Javens says no one is more upset about this than she is.
“Absolutely, if I have a cabin and I can’t hunt at my cabin, absolutely,” she said. “I’ve never had this happen.”
Javens hopes her open staff positions will be filled by next year, and that the state game commission allows more licenses in the favorite areas for hunters.