Remember new license system for 1999

Remember new license system for 1999 "Starting in 1999, obtaining the proper license to hunt, fish or trap will be simpler," said Doug Hansen, director of the Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Division. "By reducing the required number of pieces involved for each licensed activity, our hope is that license buyers and agents will eventually find our new system less confusing."

A licensing system that offers a number of new licenses will become effective in 1999. The new system will replace the existing system of the prerequisite Basic Game and Fish License and a variety of stamps attached to it. The major change is that there will no longer be a Basic Game and Fish License, and there will only be one stamp.

The Combination License will replace the existing Sportsman's License, yet is slightly different from the Sportsman License. The new Combination License doesn't automatically include the necessary state permit to hunt waterfowl, formerly the State Waterfowl Restoration Stamp.

"A Combination License covers both fishing and small game hunting," Hansen said, "with an option to add Migratory Bird Certification Stamp for hunting doves and waterfowl. Except for the federal Duck Stamp, this will be the only stamp hunters will have to remember today."

The Migratory Bird Certification (MBC) Stamp is a replacement for the State Waterfowl Stamp. It can be added to either the Small Game License or the Combination License.

"With a total price of $44, the Combination License is a four dollar bargain for enthusiasts who both hunt and fish," Hansen said. "If both the small game and fishing licenses were bought separately, a total of $48 would be paid, including the $5 surcharge imposed by the legislature."

Remember the migratory bird harvest questions? Under the new system, only those who add the Migratory Bird Certification Stamp will be required to fill in the questionnaire. Right now, everyone who buys a Basic or Sportsman's License must fill out that short set of questions, even though only about 40 percent of those people actually hunt migratory birds.

Resident Small Game 1-day licenses will be new for 1999. A 1997 survey showed that there are a number of residents who only hunt small game one or two days during the season. "We have tried to offer a licensing alternative to keep these people as active participants," Hansen said. Small game includes such things as pheasant, grouse, cottontail, and squirrel.

Also available is one-day fishing license. The low-cost, short-term license will save money for people who only fish a day or two each year. For anglers who fish three times or more, the annual fishing license is the better buy.

The amount senior citizens pay to fish won't change under the new system. Hansen said, "Currently, seniors (age 65 and older) have to buy the Basic Game and Fish License ($5) in order to get the Free Fishing Stamp. If all they do is fish, they're still going to pay only $5 under the new system. It is important to our funding base that we continue to consider the growing population of seniors as part of our license-buying public, even if at a reduced fee."

The Game, Fish and Parks Commission also decided that the 5-day fishing license be discontinued altogether. It has been replaced by a 3-day license that will more effectively serve the large percentage of nonresident anglers who fish more than one day but only make a single trip.

Under the current licensing policy, once a resident turns 16 years old, they must pay full price for all licenses. According to Hansen, changes under the new license system encourage hunting and fishing participation through reduced costs for young hunters and anglers.

The new Youth Small Games License is intended for hunters ages 12 through 15. Under the current system, young hunters get a free Basic Game and Fish License and then have to purchase a Small Game Stamp for $6. The new system offers a Youth Small Game License at a reduced price of $5.

For residents who are 16 through 18 years old there will be the Junior Combination License. "When compared with the Adult Combination License," said Hansen, "the Junior Combination License includes the trapping license as well as the annual fishing and small game hunting license at about half the cost. Again, if doves or waterfowl are to be hunted the MBC Stamp must be added to the Junior Combination License for an additional $3.

"Prairie dogs, ground squirrels, gophers and other unprotected species are allowed to be taken by hunters who possess the Predator/Varmint License," said Hansen.

"Residents holding any other type of valid hunting license under the new license system can also take these animals," he added. The Predator/

Varmint License replaces the former Basic Game and Fish License that was required for hunters that had no other hunting license and only wanted to hunt the unprotected species.

Under the new system in 1999, big game applicants will no longer need a prerequisite license number to apply for a big game license.

All big game licenses are "stand-alone" licenses, just like the others. In place of the Basic or Sportsman's Accreditation card number, or for youth under 16 years of age, their Hunter Safety card number.

The commission also set a higher price for nonresident fishing licenses.

The 1-day fishing license was increased to $12, and the nonresident annual fishing license to $59. A new nonresident 3-day fishing license will also be offered in 1999 for $30.

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