Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New day arrives for issuing hunting/fishing licenses

Today marks the premier opening for Ohio's new $16 million hunting and fishing license issuing system.

While no snags have been reported at the Ohio Division of Wildlife end, at least one local vendor is experiencing internal computer problems. These circumstances are presently preventing Gander Mountain's Mentor store from issuing the necessary documents in order for sportsmen to hunt and fish.

"I can say right now that we're selling hundreds of licenses and I can give you an exact count tomorrow morning," said Korey Brown, the Wildlife Division's administrator in charge of the new web-based license-issuing and check-in system.

All hunters and anglers will need to utilize this system when they go to buy their respective 2011-2012 tags, permits and licenses. Deer and turkey hunters also will find that to check in their kills they'll need to follow the system's protocols that can use a telephone, computer, or allow for a visit to a license-issuing agent.

At my local sportsmen's club annual meeting on Sunday the Wildlife Division's two representatives explained the program.

The agents included mentioning the federal and state requirement that a person must supply his or her Social Security number when first applying for a license. The requirement is mandated in order to check to see if an applicant is behind in child support and thus ineligible to buy a license.

That being said, however, several club members expressed concern about supplying their Social Security number and how secure it will be against identity theft and subsequent fraud.

While the Wildlife Division will do all that it can to prevent such theft there is no 100-percent guarantee that somehow, somewhere and by someone the information won't become accessible to unauthorized people, Brown said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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