The Senate Game & Fisheries Committee advanced legislation to improve Pennsylvania’s elk hunting license program, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).
Scarnati, a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1190, explained that the legislation makes important changes to enhance Pennsylvania’s elk program and provide for greater economic development and regional tourism benefits.
According to Scarnati, the legislation reauthorizes the Elk License Auction Program that expired in 2013, requires that the annual elk license lottery drawing take place in Benezette during the Elk Country Alliance Festival and creates an additional elk license category to be raffled by the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. The new license category created by the legislation will raise funds for the elk habitat and local conservation programs.
“Senate Bill 1190 takes a significant step to ensure that our local area receives benefits of the Elk Hunting License Program,” Scarnati said. “Year after year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to our region for the elk and to experience the beauty of the Pennsylvania Wilds. It is important that the areas of our state that host the elk continue to see economic growth and receive support for conservation efforts.”
Scarnati was the chief proponent for relocation of the annual elk license drawing to Benezette.
“Moving the location of the elk license lottery drawing from Harrisburg to Benezette will serve as a positive way of furthering regional tourism,” Scarnati said. “Having this annual event in the local area makes sense since the licenses apply within our region.”
Pennsylvania’s elk range covers approximately 835 square miles in parts of Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton and Potter counties. Currently the herd consists of more than 800 elk.
Senate Bill 1190 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.