VANCOUVER--The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's new computerized hunting and fishing license sales system, slated to go into operation statewide in 2001, will be discussed Friday (Dec. 10) when the Fish and Wildlife Commission meets here.
The commission will consider authorizing a transaction fee of up to 10 percent of the cost of a hunting or fishing license to pay for the operation of the system, which will make it more convenient for citizens to purchase licenses and reduce the number of documents they must carry.
State legislators in 1996 directed WDFW to simplify and automate its licensing system. In 1999, the Legislature authorized WDFW to charge a transaction fee.
The commission meets at 9 a.m. Friday at the Red Lion Inn Hotel at the Quay, 100 Columbia St., Vancouver. The commission also will take up other matters on Friday and Saturday.
WDFW on Nov. 30 opened three bids from firms seeking to set up and operate the license system. The agency currently is reviewing the bids and evaluating the bidders' qualifications.
If adopted, the actual transaction fee charged when the year 2001 licenses go on sale in March, 2001, may be less than 10 percent, depending on negotiations with the company. A pilot project is slated to start in some areas beginning April 1, 2000.
Hunters and fishers are expected to receive the following benefits:
- Hunters and fishers may purchase licenses from their homes via the Internet
- The time required to purchase a license at a dealer will be reduced from about 20 minutes to 2 minutes
- The number of license, permit and record card documents carried in the field will be dramatically reduced from up to 22 to a maximum of four, including a general license made of waterproof, tear-resistant material; a single catch record card for salmon, steelhead, halibut, Dungeness crab and sturgeon; a single transportation tag for big game hunters and a western Washington pheasant report card. Hunters and fishers will continue to receive access stewardship decals to place on their vehicles when they purchase their licenses. Persons without hunting and fishing licenses using WDFW access sites may continue to purchase access stewardship decals for $10 from dealers or via the Internet.
- Fish and game animal management will be improved considerably because hunters and fishers can report harvests via the Internet and a computerized, toll- free telephone system on a timely basis
- WDFW will save money and improve revenue projections with timely information about license sales
- WDFW can ensure license dealers have adequate supplies of license documents and regulation pamphlets on hand
An angler purchasing a freshwater fishing license presently pays $20 for a license. If the transaction fee is the maximum, or 10 percent, it would mean the cost of the license would increase by $2. License dealers also charge a $2 fee, making the total cost of the license $24.
The 10 percent transaction fee for the big game combo licenses (deer, elk, cougar and bear) would be $6.60, based on the $66 basic license cost. Dealer fees could increase the cost another $2.
For more information, the public is invited to review the commission's preliminary meeting agenda.