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Lake life

Louisiana license system changing

I don’t think there has ever been a Louisiana hunter or fisherman that didn’t complain about what seemed like a three-foot-long state license that folded back up about like an old Amaco road map (anybody else remember road maps . . . or Amaco?) Well, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is changing how hunting and fishing licenses are printed. And those long licenses are about to become no more. Beginning March 15, 2021, licenses and tags will no longer be printed on durable stock paper. Instead, it will be printed on regular, 8.5 x 11 (letter-size) paper.

LDWF is making the switch to eliminate aging hardware requirements associated with the traditional printed system (see more below). Customers may also choose to have a digital copy of their license emailed to them.  Simply ensure the license vendor has your email address recorded accurately on file, and the electronic license will be sent immediately after the purchase is complete.    This can be saved on your smart device and used as proof of a valid license in the field. However, deer and turkey tags must be printed for use in the field. In other words, printed licenses are probably going the way of those old road maps.

The LDWF made the announcement Thursday and the news release included a statement that “LDWF is dedicated to connecting people and families with nature. Thank you for your patience during this transition.”

It is a needed switch and actually, it will take patience by both parties, outdoorsmen and those enforcing the state’s license laws. There are tons of questions, like “Have you ever tried to keep up with a plain piece of typing paper in the deer woods or duck blind for 3-4 months? How can you keep a deer tag made of plain paper legible when tied to a deer’s leg in the rain/mud/etc? What if you have your license on our electronic device, but there is no signal where you hunt or fish? Law requires we attach our federal duck stamp to our license, so do we stick it on our cell phone now? I’m sure those things will be worked out, but expect lots more on this topic.

LDWF knows there will be lots of questions and you can get yours answered. They’ve set up an email where you can ask away. The LDWF news release also said, “Don’t hesitate to email additional questions to LDWFLicensing@wlf.la.gov

And, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story on why this is happening:

  1. Many states across the US are streamlining the amount of hardware required at vendor locations and are moving to plain paper licenses.
  2. Some states are even moving to a 100% digital license; this provides a solution somewhere in the middle.
  3. By encouraging digital licenses and email addresses, a more efficient communication method with our license holders is possible (season changes, regulation changes, soliciting public input, etc.).
  4. The currently required hardware must be shipped, maintained, and serviced at the retail vendors by a contractor. Additionally, it must be stored on the counter at each location. This presents an obstacle for many vendors wishing to sell licenses.

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