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Hunting licenses went on sale Monday across the commonwealth in person as well as online.

A number of local businesses offer the service of selling hunting licenses which allows convenience and the support of the area’s economy. For those who are more tech savvy, ordering online might be more convenient, but there is the uncertainty of when your license will arrive. Non-residents seem to have lengthy waits for their physical license and regulations digest, which makes it important to order sooner rather than later.

As I wrote this column, I paused to message my brother to purchase his license so that he would be in possession of antlerless deer applications. With many WMUs selling out of antlerless tags as demand has increased for venison, it pays to be ready and waiting to send in your application.

In addition to being prepared for the antlerless license process, there is plenty of opportunity to be had in the fields this summer by sharpening your shot on groundhogs. A number of farmers, if asked properly, are willing to grant permission to thin the woodchuck population on their properties. As property taxes have increased, the value to enjoy another’s ground has as well. Providing a service by reducing the amount of burrows and crop damage on a farmer’s field can go a long way in gaining or retaining hunting rights to a property.

While there are indirect benefits to killing groundhogs, the excitement of the hunt and table fare it can provide are plenty of incentive for the hunter.

Interestingly, a majority of people turn up their nose at the thought of consuming a groundhog despite it being a vegetarian the same as deer and rabbits.

Those who consume woodchuck have nothing but good things to say about the flesh. If you are willing to eat fast food, there is no reason to dismiss groundhog as inedible. As with most wild game, the young of the year have less gamey taste and are more tender.

Quickly skinning, field dressing and cooling the carcass is essential in the heat of summer, and it does not take long for flies to gather.

The drawing for elk tags is still months away, but it is never too early to begin dreaming and planning for the chance to draw a coveted Pennsylvania elk tag. Plenty of useful information about units, number of permits and the application process can be found within the hunting regulations digest.

Oddly, one does not have to possess a Pennsylvania hunting license to apply for an elk tag. A number of western states now require hunters to purchase a license of one variety or another before being able to apply for big game permits. With the caliber of trophy-class bulls here in the Keystone State, it seems silly to not further capitalize on the resource.

The elk drawing allows applicants to earn points with each year’s application, providing for better odds as points accumulate. Each year in my mind the glimmer of hope and increasing odds of drawing a tag far outweigh the application fee, which goes toward promoting conservation.

The sale of fishing, hunting and trapping licenses along with ammunition largely fund the conservation of game and non-game animals, resident and migratory birds in addition to land and waterways.

If you enjoy wildlife, you really should purchase a license, even if not used, because there is no better way to protect and promote wildlife.