Bill Jones had every intention of buying his hunting license Thursday to be ready when antlerless licenses go on sale Monday, but technology had other plans.
Jones went to several Wilkes-Barre-area businesses that issue hunting licenses, but at each place the computer system wasn’t working.
Only after residents buy general hunting licenses can they apply for an antlerless license.
Considering antlerless licenses will be issued beginning Monday, Jones was left with little time to make the purchase and get his application in the mail.
“It’s frustrating because I want to purchase (a hunting license) now with doe licenses coming up,” he said.
According to Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau, there was an outage with an internet service provider in Wilkes-Barre that prevented license sales from being processed. The matter had nothing to do with the Pennsylvania Automated License System, he said.
The problem came to light when Game Commission staff in Harrisburg reviewed Thursday’s license sales reports from the Wilkes-Barre area and noticed the figures were lower than normal.
“We can tell there are license-issuing agents throughout the area whose sales are lower,” Lau said. “That would indicate some sort of problem there that isn’t related to PALS itself.”
One business impacted by the outage was Nimrod Haven Sporting Goods in Hanover Township. Owner Joe Lasecki said numerous hunters came to buy their license Thursday to have it in time to send out their doe license applications, but they had to wait.
Later in the day, Lasecki said, the computer system was back up but slow, yet he was able to start processing licenses. He added that issues with the computer system have been ongoing for a week.
“It’s been nuts. This is the worst time of year for something like this to happen,” Lasecki said.
Paul Scavone, owner of J&S Sporting Goods in Wilkes-Barre Township, said aside from a minor issue last Friday, his computer system worked all day Thursday.
“This is one of the busiest times for hunting license sales because people are rushing to buy them in order to send in their doe license applications for Monday. You don’t want anything to happen this time of year,” Scavone said.
Jones, meanwhile, isn’t giving up in his attempt to buy a hunting license. He said he’ll try other area businesses or go back to the ones he visited before.
The Game Commission’s region office in Dallas was selling licenses without interruption Thursday. Information and Education Supervisor Bill Williams said business is always brisk during the week leading up to the antlerless license deadline, and there was a line of hunters at the office most of the day waiting to buy a hunting license.
Lau recommended that anyone who had difficulty purchasing a hunting license in Wilkes-Barre drive out of the area to another retailer or purchase one at the region office.
“There is still time to get your license. If it takes a drive somewhere else to do it, it’s a trip worth making to make sure you get your doe license,” he said.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region Office will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, to accommodate persons wishing to purchase a hunting license. The office is at 3917 Memorial Highway in Dallas. The office phone number is 570-675-1143.
Reach Tom Venesky at 570-991-6395 or on Twitter @TomVenesky