When it comes to Oklahoma’s licensing issues, I can’t figure out whether I’m legal or not half the time.
Sometimes I think I need a file cabinet with me in the field to make sure I have all the necessary paperwork.
Getting ready for the dove season, I know I need a state hunting license, HIP permit and Legacy Permit. But I had to go look it up because I can never remember from year to year.
Now I’ve learned that if you bought a hunting license after July 1, the Legacy Permit was included in the price.
(So don’t buy hunting and fishing licenses separately or you will be paying for two Legacy permits.)
Before July 1, the $5 Legacy Permit was sold separately.
Including it in the price of the license is a good idea. That makes sense and there needs to be some more common sense applied when it comes to Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses.
On Wednesday, the first meeting of a 10-member legislative task force was held to discuss ways to simplify the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s licensing procedures.
My colleague at the Capitol Bureau, Julie Bisbee, was there and reported that the following ideas were floated around: Combining all lifetime licenses, creating a resident deer license by season and creating a “sportsman license” which would combine all licenses for all seasons.
“Some proposals would increase the price of licenses, but add seasons like holiday hunts,” said Melinda Streich, assistant director of administration and finance for the state Wildlife Conservation Department.
The department gets about $16.6 million in revenue for hunting and fishing licenses each year.
State wildlife officials are in favor of simplifying the licensing procedures as long as they don’t lose any money.
For residents in Oklahoma there are at least 46 different types of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses.
Proposed changes call for streamlining all seven resident deer licenses down to three.
This proposal could mean an increase in fees. Currently, an adult hunter pays $20 per deer during archery, muzzleloader or gun season.
Under the new proposal, a hunter would get a single season permit for $35 and be allowed to harvest the maximum number of deer during a specific season.
The fee for youth permits would change from $10 per deer during a specific season to $20 for the entire season. Streich said while the fee could increase, it would also allow hunters to take more deer under one license and encourage the hunting of anterless deer.
The proposed optional sportsman license would combine all the hunting licenses into one license that would have to be renewed annually.
The package would include fishing and hunting licenses, deer and turkey licenses, state waterfowl stamps and other permits.
The package is valued at $354, but would be sold for $150, Streich said.
“Right now, you can’t just buy one license to cover any hunting or fishing you might undertake – you often need a special permit for a specific animal or method,” said Phil Richardson, R-Minco, one of members of the task force.
“Lawmakers have also added a number of exemptions over the years, which further complicates the process. It is just common sense to simplify these licenses any way we can.”
Stay tuned. Changes are coming.