Aug. 25, 2017
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
A new, durable “hard card” will be available soon from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for hunters and anglers who wish to purchase the upgrade. This new license option and a solution to complaints over the standard paper big game tags were discussed in a special meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today.
“We have heard from quite a few people about their experience purchasing a license this year and being disappointed with the plain paper option,” said AGFC Director Jeff Crow. “I think it is very positive to see all seven appointed Commissioners attend this meeting to help work through details about where we are and our future plans to address these concerns.”
Crow explained that a durable, plastic card option for licenses has been in the planning stages since May. However, other priorities with the functionality of the AGFC’s new license system took precedence over its implementation.
“This discussion has fast-tracked that effort, and we do look at having this new option available very soon,” Crow said. “This will be an additional option for hunters and anglers to carry as their hunting license and will cost $3.”
Earlier this year, the Commission modified the Code of Regulations to allow license holders to print their own duplicate copies of licenses, as well as carry a digital copy of their license on their phone. The new “hard card” is not required, but is being offered in addition to these previous options.
Commission Chairman Steve Cook said he understood that even if someone’s phone battery died or their paper license was destroyed by rain or water, wildlife officers still have the ability to look up someone’s license by calling into the radio room.
Col. Greg Rae, chief of enforcement for the AGFC, said, “We have been able to look up people’s license privileges for years, and that won’t change with the new system. Our officers understand that things like that can happen and can use some discretion in those sorts of situations.”
Once the final design of the card is approved and tested, the card will be available through the AGFC’s licensing system, http://licensing.agfc.com. The card will arrive by mail within two to three weeks after purchase.
The durability of paper big game tags provided on the printed license also was discussed in the meeting. During the scheduled hunting regulations cycle, two major changes were made to streamline the tagging process, and make it easier on successful big game hunters. Instead of being required to use the tags provided on the license printout, hunters also can use the tags provided in the 2017-18 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook, or they can create their own tag from any material, so long as their name and the time, date and zone of the harvest are written on it. They then have 24 hours after harvest to check the deer as they normally would.
The second option for transporting harvested deer is to check it online or by phone in the field. No tag is required for transport once the deer has been checked.
“The end goal is to get those deer checked,” Crow said. “And officers can look up a person’s information and determine if they checked a deer that day, so the tag would be irrelevant at that point. We just need to make sure they have a way to mark that deer as theirs during transport before they have a chance to check it.”
The AGFC will be distributing sample tags made of heavier stock paper to regional offices, nature centers and other license vendors around the state as hunting season approaches. These tags may be used in place of the ones printed on a hunter’s license, or the hunter may craft their own paper tag to secure to their deer until it is properly checked via phone or internet.