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SEPTEMBER  22, 2003

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross today announced that hunters submitted 26,577 applications for the public drawing to award 100 licenses for the 2003 elk hunt. As part of the 2003 Elk Expo, the public drawing will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Elk County Fairgrounds in Kersey.

Last year, 31,789 hunters submitted an application for the public drawing to award 70 licenses. In 2001, as part of the state's first elk hunt in seven decades, 50,697 hunters submitted applications for the public drawing to award 30 licenses.

"The next task will be to cross-reference the information supplied on the applications to ensure no one submitted more than one application, and that all applications have been completed properly," Ross said. "Duplicate and incomplete applications will be ineligible for the public drawing."

Ross noted that, based on a preliminary review of the applications received, up to 160 may be declared ineligible because of duplicate filings or incomplete forms. Once the review is completed, relevant information about all eligible applicants will be printed on three-by-five inch cards to be deposited in a single container for the public drawing on Sept. 27.

Members of the Safari Club International's Lehigh Valley Chapter have donated to the Game Commission a container large enough to properly handle up to 100,000 applications. Expo attendees will be selected to participate in the drawing. The first 20 applications drawn will be awarded antlered elk licenses, and the next 80 will be awarded antlerless elk licenses.

The Game Commission received 12,215 applications via the Internet, and 14,362 by regular mail. Pennsylvania residents accounted for 24,013 applications, and nonresidents for 2,564 applications.

Applications were received from all 67 Pennsylvania counties, with the top five counties being: Allegheny (1,343); Westmoreland (1,270); York (1,104); Lancaster (1,068); and Berks (878).

In addition to Pennsylvania, applications were received from 48 other states, with the top five states, other than Pennsylvania, being: New York (680); Ohio (516); Maryland (266); New Jersey (201); and Virginia (109). Applications were not received from the District of Columbia or Kansas. There were 11 applications received from citizens of Canada.

Those interested in serving as guides for hunters who receive an elk license still may apply for a permit with the Game Commission. Guides may provide assistance in locating or tracking elk, but may not harvest the elk. Guide permits are $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Permits may be obtained from the Game Commission's Harrisburg headquarters.

Based on recent trends, the elk herd conservatively is estimated to number between 650 and 700. The elk population has been climbing steadily since the late 1980s, growing anywhere from 10 to 14 percent annually.

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