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Lake life

Get license early, or go online

Maybe I’ve just been cooped up in the house too long and got grumpy, but I gotta wonder.

What are the two best months to make major changes in the system that fishermen use to buy licenses in Louisiana? Surprisingly enough, it must be February and March, two of the months I would figure would be pretty busy.

But hold on to your snowpants. The way you buy a Louisiana fishing and hunting license is about to change. If you typically buy your license from a sporting goods store,  you better go now – like before Jan. 30.  They won’t be available there for two months after that February through March. The LDWF is putting in a new license system. Two months is some transition time (almost as long as it takes to get the ice cream machine working at your local McDonald’s in the summer).

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So you say you don’t have a license because your computer is down and you couldn’t find the regional LDWF office?

This is particularly important for all you visiting fishermen who will be coming to Lake D’Arbonne from other states for the Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship. You will not be able to buy a license at a sporting goods store when you get here. And it’s 25 miles to the nearest LDWF office.

More than 60 percent of fishermen buy their licenses at retail outlets. In addition, all license sales will be temporarily suspended Jan. 30 -31 while the system is down for maintenance. I’m not sure why the old system has to be maintained, or why a new system would need maintenance, but then again…I don’t understand about the ice cream thing, either.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be working with a new vendor for all its license sales. You can still get your license on the electronic system during that two-month “down time”. You can also get it in person at your area LDWF office. I’m not too sure they are set up for that foot traffic. And a lot of people don’t like the on-line system because it charges a “convenience” fee plus you don’t get a hard copy sent to you like you used to.  It looks like a choice between in line or on line.

My only hope is that the new system works well and the price of licenses does not go up to pay for the new system. The new system will reportedly provide some options for hunters and fishermen that don’t currently exist, what one LDWF spokesman said will be a ” few more bells and whistles”.  Like creating your own log-in, storing your licenses, tracking license history and tying in your boat registration and hunter education information and the like in just one spot.

Ding, Dong. Whistle, Whistle.





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