(WTAJ) – Each year, thousands apply to participate in elk hunting season. But getting your own elk tag is no easy task.
This year, only 187 people will receive a tag. The PA Game Commission likes to keep the elk population at about 1,200, meaning there can only be few tags handed out.
However, a new bill would make it easier for 100% disabled veterans, by designating a specific lottery for them. The bill, proposed by State Representative Frank Burns, would take two of those tags and designate them specifically for 100% disabled veterans.
The bill would earmark one bull and one cow elk tag for this dedicated drawing. There would be no cost for the tags to the veterans selected. His proposed fourth lottery will be intended for the general season.
The bill will now head to Committee. If it passes there, it’s on to house floor, and then the senate for approval. If all that goes through, all it would need then is the governor’s signature for it to become law.
Burns hopes to have this all set up to go for 2022 lotteries, to give veterans a chance to hunt.
“There’s a chance that these veterans would never ever have a chance to go hunting, and shoot and get an elk,” Burns said.
This idea was brought to his attention by a disabled vet himself, Timothy Seymore, who has participated in these lotteries for the past 12 years, and has never been awarded a tag.
“It’s just an opportunity for a disabled veteran to get something that he would probably never get,” Seymore said, adding the selection is so exclusive that he has had to find new means to hunt. “You’re almost guaranteed to get a tag out west. But it’s expensive, it’s really expensive.”
There are groups in pa that do hunts for disabled vets, her in Pa., but there’s nothing for elk. Seymore believes his idea would be a huge hit, and could help vets that may gave up hope of every hunting elk again.
“It will give them something to look forward they’ll be able to say I actually can get a tag; I’ll put in for it,” Seymore said.
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