RULES AND REGULATIONS
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 143 ]
Hunting and Furtaker Licenses; General
[51 Pa.B. 2945]
[Saturday, May 22, 2021]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) at its April 10, 2021, meeting amended §§ 143.1 and 143.11 (relating to definitions; and internet license sales) and added § 143.5a (relating to digital hunting and furtaking licenses) to define and authorize the use of hunting and furtaking eLicenses and certain electronic permits.
This final-form rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this final-form rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 51 Pa.B. 1343 (March 13, 2021).
1. Purpose and Authority
The Commission has historically issued its various hunting and furtaking license products to customers in physical form only on the familiar durable yellow stock. New features in the PALS (HuntFishPA) system are expected to go live for the 2021-2022 license year and will have the capacity to provide hunters and trappers with digital versions of its license and certain permit products by e-mail and through the PALS system. However, the licensing regulations needed to be amended to authorize and define their use. The Commission amends §§ 143.1 and 143.11 and adds § 143.5a to define and authorize the use of hunting and furtaking eLicenses. This authorization also extends to certain permits also sold through the PALS system, such as mentored permits, bobcat permits, range permits and the like.
An eLicense is generally defined as a digital (electronic) copy of a hunting or furtaking license or permit provided to customers in the form of a PDF document. An eLicense will be issued to the hunter or trapper at the time of purchase and will be authorized for use in the same manner and as an alternative to traditional physical license documents. When used, the eLicense will be stored and displayed by the customer on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The customer will also have the option of printing a copy of eLicense products on their own printer using appropriate paper stock.
Carcass harvest tags will continue to be provided to customers in physical form only on the familiar durable stock. No digital versions of these documents will be issued to customers or authorized for use. Customers that elect to purchase license products online will be provided with digital copies of their license products and thereafter mailed physical carcass harvest tags by first class mail. Customers that elect to purchase license products at an agent location will be issued physical carcass harvest tags at the time of purchase and will also have the opportunity to have digital licenses provided to them electronically when a valid e-mail address is provided. There will be no additional fee for customers to retrieve eLicense products from the Commission's PALS system. However, replacement license fees will still apply where replacement carcass harvest tags are requested or where the customer opts for a physical reprint of license products.
Section 2722(g) of the code (relating to authorized license-issuing agents) directs the Commission to adopt regulations for the administration, control and performance of license issuing activities. The amendments to §§ 143.1 and 143.11 and addition of § 143.5a are adopted under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This final-form rulemaking amends §§ 143.1 and 143.11 and adds § 143.5a to define and authorize the use of hunting and furtaking eLicenses and certain electronic permits.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to hunt or trap game and wildlife within the Commonwealth will be affected by this final-form rulemaking.
4. Comment and Response Summary
The Commission received a total of 14 comments con- cerning this final-form rulemaking. Of this total, 12 supported and 2 opposed this rulemaking.
5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This final-form rulemaking should not result in any additional cost or paperwork.
6. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
7. Contact Person
For further information regarding this final-form rulemaking, contact Jason L. DeCoskey, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
The Commission finds that:
(1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2 (relating to notice of proposed rulemaking required; and adoption of regulations).
(2) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.
The Commission, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 143, are amended by amending §§ 143.1 and 143.11 and adds 143.5a to read as set forth in Annex A.
(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-463 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 143. HUNTING AND
Subchapter A. GENERAL
§ 143.1. Definitions.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Agent—A person appointed under Chapter 27, Subchapter B of the act (relating to agents) who is authorized to issue the licenses provided for in the act and this part.
Customer ID number—The unique customer identifier permanently assigned to each customer of the Commission's PALS.
License—A physical or digital document issued by the Commission authorizing the holder to hunt for, take, kill and possess certain types of game or wildlife during a specified period.
PALS—Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System—The Commission's computer-based automated licensing system that facilitates the purchase and creation of license products at the agent location.
§ 143.5a. Digital hunting and furtaking licenses.
This section applies only to persons that have elected to conduct hunting and furtaking license transactions by electronic means as determined from the context and surrounding circumstances of the acquisition and production of these digital license documents. Upon the Commission establishing a system to distribute and make available digital license documents, holders of these issued digital documents may produce them as required under the act or this part in digital or printed physical form in the same manner as physical printed licenses issued directly by the Commission or any of its agents, subject to the following:
(1) Digital documents. Digital license documents issued by the Commission and stored on a personal electronic device must be capable of immediate retrieval and clear display of the digital document to ensure the readability of all license information contained on the digital document, including any bar codes or QR codes. Failure to retrieve and produce this digital document or its physical alternative to any landowner upon whose land that person may be occupying or to any officer whose duty it is to enforce this title shall constitute a violation under section 2711(a)(12) of the act (relating to unlawful acts concerning licenses).
(2) Printed digital license documents. Digital license documents issued by the Commission and subsequently reduced to physical form must be printed on paper or another substantially equivalent medium of such quality, color and contrast to clearly display and ensure the readability of all license information contained on the digital document, including any bar codes or QR codes. Failure to produce this printed digital document or its original physical alternative to any landowner upon whose land that person may be occupying or to any officer whose duty it is to enforce this title shall constitute a violation under section 2711(a)(12) of the act.
(3) Harvest tags. The Commission will not issue any digital harvest tags with digital license documents. The Commission or any of its eligible issuing agents will issue harvest tags directly to the holder in physical form only. No further reproduction of these physical documents, digital or otherwise, is authorized to satisfy tagging or marking requirements under the act or this part, except as may be authorized by section 2710 of the act (relating to replacement of lost licenses). Section 2323(c) of the act (relating to tagging and reporting big game kills) regarding licenses issued without tags shall not be construed to apply to digitally issued license documents supplemented by the issuance of physical harvest tags.
(4) Electronic Transaction Act. The Electronic Transactions Act, (73 P.S. §§ 2260.101—2260.5101), as amended, shall apply to any automated transaction conducted under this section. It is specifically intended that any license acquired and used in a digital format under the authorizations of this section is deemed to be electronically signed and certified by the holder of the document. Digital license documents issued by the Commission and subsequently reduced to physical form shall be signed and certified by the holder in the same manner as physical printed licenses issued directly by the Commission or any of its agents.
§ 143.11. Internet license sales.
For individuals who have previously acquired and possess a valid hunting license and opt to purchase an archery, muzzleloader, migratory game bird license online, the license holder shall either print the license, sign in the space provided and carry the printed license while afield or, in the alternative, carry a digital copy of the license while afield as authorized by § 143.5a (relating to digital hunting and furtaking licenses).
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-844. Filed for public inspection May 21, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]
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