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Elk Hunt - 2023
Official dates to be set at April Board of Commissioner's meeting.
Each application costs $11.97, applying for all three seasons would cost a total of $35.91.
Applicants can only be drawn for one season/tag per year, and all three drawings are held on the same day (July 29, 2023) in consecutive order. For example, if you applied for all three seasons and were drawn for the archery season, your applications for the general and late seasons would be instantly removed and you would be awarded bonus points for those seasons (1 point per season).
One bonus point is earned for each unsuccessful application, but points are exclusive to each season. Any existing bonus points for the general elk season will not be applied to the archery or late seasons. For example, if you have previously earned 5 bonus points for the general season and this year you apply for the archery season AND the general season, your existing bonus points are only included in your general season application. If you are unsuccessful in drawing you would earn 1 bonus point for the archery season and 1 bonus point for the general season (meaning you would now have 1 archery & 6 general points). Those points would then be included with the following years application but only for the season in which they were earned.
Bonus points serve as a multiplier and your name is entered in the drawing for as many bonus points as you have, effectively increasing the probability of drawing a license.
Bonus points reset to 0, if drawn for a specific season, however, any points for alternate seasons remain unchanged. You must apply in the current license year for any bonus points to be included.
You can check your bonus points through the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS) at huntfish.pa.gov. Click the first radio button, scroll to the bottom of the page, click 'Start Here' and follow the prompts. If you believe there is an error, please contact the License Division at
How to apply: How To Apply For A Pennsylvania Elk Hunting License Online (Youtube)
More information: 2023 Elk License Brochure, 2023 Elk License Flyer
The application period of the elk hunt opens when licenses go on sale February 1 through July 16, 2023.
Apply Online. Visit HuntFishPA site to apply for the elk license drawing and check the status of your application.
Applicant Options: For most of the seasons, there are four options when an applicant applies.
- Antlered Only: Applicant is only interested in hunting antlered elk.
- Antlerless Only: Applicant is only interested in hunting antlerless elk.
- Either-Sex: Applicant is interested in hunting either antlered or antlerless elk.
- Point-Only: Applicant is NOT included in the current years drawing but is awarded the bonus point.
Hunters have successfully harvested elk in every hunt zone. Carefully examine each zone considering road access and the amount of available public and private land.
For more details, consult: Elk Hunt Zone Descriptions, Annual Elk Harvest Maps, the Game Commission Mapping Center and maps of the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources' state forests.
The annual drawing for elk licenses will take place July 29, 2023 during the Elk Expo at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette. Successful applicants who provide a phone number or email will be notified promptly by those methods, others will receive notification by postal mail.
The 2023 Elk Check Station will be located at the Elk Country Visitor Center, 134 Homestead Dr., PA 15821, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Opening dates will be announced soon) GPS coordinates are 41.3233 N and 78.3684 W. Cell coverage on the elk range is sparse.
Elk Check Station (map) (PDF)
Results from the Elk Check Station (near real-time map)
All elk harvested during the general season must be brought to the check station within 24 hours of harvest. Weight and several biological samples will be collect by Game Commission biologists.
The check station is open to the public. A variety of vendors and educational displays and programs will be available. The Elk County Visitor Center will be open every day from 8 a.m. until the close of the check station and a presentation on the history of elk in the commonwealth will run every 30 minutes in the theater.
Note: The check station for the late and archery seasons will be held at the Game Commission Maintenance Building at 3508 Winslow Hill Rd. Benezette, PA 15821. Hours are 1000-1200 everyday of the season. Hunters will be notified of additional details via mail.
Check Station: Harvested elk need to be taken to the elk check station within 24 hours. The Elk Check Station is located at the Elk Country Visitor Center, 134 Homestead Dr., Benezette, PA 15821. GPS Coordinates are 41.3233 N and 78.3684 W. Cell coverage on the elk range is sparse. Elk Check Station (map) (PDF)
Results from the Elk Check Station
Regulations: Please consult the current Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest for details about this year's elk hunt.
Elk are Large Animals: An adult bull may weigh 600-1,000 pounds and an adult cow may weigh 400-600 pounds. Part of your hunt plan should include how to field-dress and move the animal from the kill site to your vehicle and on to the check station. Regulations prohibit the use of motorized vehicles, including ATVs on state-owned property, with few exceptions. The animal may be skinned and quartered and packed out by horses or mules or on pack boards. Hunters should bring plenty of help. Any number of unlicensed persons may accompany hunters as long as they wear the required fluorescent orange and do not participate in the hunt itself or carry a firearm. Persons just accompanying an elk hunter are not required to have an elk guide permit.
Table - License Issued and Harvest Success
Where can I get detailed information about individual elk hunt zone boundaries?
There are several options for this, but the best place to view the elk hunt zones in detail is through the Pennsylvania Game Commission's online Mapping Center. Through the online mapping program hunters can add a variety of backgrounds including aerial photos, topographic maps and roads. A second option is to download a detailed elk hunt zone map book (2022 edition) (PDF 15MB) directly from the Game Commission's website. And a third option is to examine State Forest maps available online or at each State Forests headquarters.
Archery Elk Shot Placement (video 2:44)
To check the status of an Elk License Application: Go to
huntfish.pa.gov. Log into your account and scroll to the bottom left-hand corner under "Applications and Points", your Bonus Points awarded to date will be displayed. Click "Submitted Applications" to check the status of an application for the current license year.
Persons interested in becoming a guide for Pennsylvania elk hunters should contact the Special Permits Enforcement Division at 717-783-8164.