Online hunting licensing could hurt area vendorsThe North Dakota Game and Fish Department has gone completely digital when it comes to out-of-state small game licenses this year. Venders will no longer offer the old paper method of licensing for non-local hunters.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has gone completely digital when it comes to out-of-state small game licenses this year. Venders will no longer offer the old paper method of licensing for non-local hunters.
With pheasant season beginning next weekend and the youth pheasant season already under way, some are worried about the impact the change may have on their businesses.
“I’m kind of thinking our traffic is going to be way down this year,” said Greg Knutson, owner of Andrus Outdoors in Dickinson.
Knutson said the ability to sell the licenses drew in a lot of business.
“It’s not going to be good for local businesses,” he said. “Before people would come in here, or any store, and get their licenses locally and then they would buy a box of shells or a vest, or maybe even sometimes a shotgun. But this year, I don’t see that happening. I’m really not happy about the whole thing.”
Paul Schadewald, chief of the administrative services division for NDGF, said the switch had a lot to do with convenience.
“With the online system, you don’t have licenses that you have to inventory,” Schadewald said. “That’s all something that we don’t have to handle anymore.”
He said the option of online licensing has been available for about 10 years, and water foul licenses underwent the same transition about four years ago. Most hunters were already getting their licenses online, so NDGF decided it was time to make the switch, Schadewald said.
“Last year we did just over 80 percent online,” he said.
Schadewald said he knows some businesses are upset about the change, but vendors who can access the Internet at their business can still provide licenses to customers.
Knutson is still able to offer this service, but the Mott Equity Exchange in Mott will not be able to.
Sherry Friedt, general manager of the Equity Exchange, finds it worrisome.
“I think they’re all going to come in unexpectedly this year to buy a license and be shocked, and then not know where to get a license,” Friedt said.
Schadewald said hunters who don’t have access to the Internet can also use a telephone to purchase a hunting license.
“There is a service charge on the telephone, but it is there if they do have problems finding a license,” Schadewald said. “We call them instant licenses, in that as soon as they hang up, they’re able to go hunting. They’re considered to be licensed.”
The “instant license” is generated electronically and the hunter will be given a verification number. They can then hunt without having a paper copy of the license, but a copy will eventually be mailed to them, Schadewald said.
Friedt said the change may impact Mott Equity Exchange.
“Eventually, they (hunters) won’t be coming in at all once this gets out,” she said.
Scott Meschke, a Dickinson hunter who is taking his 8-year-old son Matthew out during the youth season, worries the change will cause local businesses to lose money.
“If they don’t have a reason to stop to buy a license, chances are they’re going to come and bring shells from wherever they came from,” Meschke said. “I think it’s certainly going to be a detriment across the state, absolutely.”
She may not totally agree with it, but Friedt said she understands why the change was made.
“They’re just keeping up with the times,” Friedt said.