Owners of several sporting goods stores are complaining about a bill introduced recently in the state General Assembly, which would remove rules that require hunters to display hunting licenses in back tags. Instead, hunters would carry wallet-sized licenses.

House Bill 460 was introduced by Rep. Neal P. Goodman and supported by Rep. Russell H. Fairchild, R-85 of Lewisburg, and Rep. Merle H. Phillips, R-108 of RR2 Sunbury,
“Along with the added convenience of not having to poke holes in expensive outer garments, my bill responds to the new smaller licenses now available from the Game Commission through their newly computerized Point of Sales system of licensing,” Goodman said in a statement. “The current display requirement … is out of date and inconvenient for hunters, especially those who wish to change coats while in the field.”

Sporting goods chains claim hundreds of businesses in Pennsylvania rely on the income they receive through selling back tags, as do the industries that produce the plastic for the holders.

While advocates of the bill contest that it will be a convenient and welcomed change for sportsmen, sporting goods retailers who sell hunting licenses in Pennsylvania fear the bill, if passed, could cause a significant reduction in store traffic. In response, several hundred Pennsylvania retailers have signed a petition to voice their concerns over the bill’s introduction.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania House approved a 70-cent fee for every hunting and trapping license sold, meaning the Pennsylvania Game Commission is well on its way to having sportsmen fund the $2 million automated license sales system that was recently implemented statewide.