West Virginia Bass Federation - FISHTAILS
Hunting and Fishing License Now Available On-Line
[August 13, 2002] - Chris Lawrence

Sixteen-year-old Ashlee Thompson of St. Albans becomes the first to use the new on-line license system. Governor Wise and DNR Director Ed Hamrick look on.
Hunters who put off buying their necessary stamps until the night before opening day will no longer experience the frustration of finding a store open late that carry's hunting license. Trout anglers will no longer have to travel to five different locations to hear the phrase, "Sorry we're sold out of trout stamps." Bass fishermen from New York, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina heading to West Virginia for a week's stay at Stonewall Jackson won't have to worry about the hassle of figuring out where to buy a fishing license upon arrival. All of these typical scenarios are now solved with the help of a mouse.

Governor Wise and DNR Director Ed Hamrick recently unveiled the agency's new "Go-Wild" program. The program creates two new websites, and Outdoors enthusiasts can use a credit card to quickly and efficiently purchase hunting or fishing license directly from the DNR.

"This is phase two." Governor Wise told a group assembled at the state capitol for the announcement. "Last year we partnered with Bass Pro Shops and to provide license service over the Internet and over the telephone for the first time ever. However, those cost a handling fee. The new goWild system will carry no handling charges."

The phrase "goWild" is an acronym for West Virginia Internet Licensing Data system. The governor says the announcement carries the DNR closer to his goal of full-scale interaction over the World Wide Web.

"This new licensing system is a prime example of how state government can employ technology to increase the convenience of government services to our citizens."

Sixteen-year old Ashlee Thompson of St. Albans joined the governor as the first to purchase a license over the system. Thompson, who participated in the Governor's Youth in the Outdoors Program earlier this year, purchased an antlerless deer stamp for Cabell County.

"People my age use the Internet every day." Says Thompson, "Buying a hunting license on-line will be a great benefit."

No kidding says DNR Director Hamrick.

"There's nothing more frustrating than not being ready the night before a big hunt and you can't find a license dealer who's either open or has the stamps you need. It can really ruin the whole trip."

Step three of the process will be the completed streaming of instant data from license sales into the DNR's master database in Charleston.

"We're hoping to eventually move to a 'point-of-sale' system." Says Wise.

Point of Sale systems have a load of potential tools. Installed at the sporting goods counters of those license retailers wanting to be part of the system, the data when you fill out your hunting or fishing license could be instantly transferred to the DNR's biologists in Charleston. Such instant and accurate data would be critical in management decisions. Further automation would include directly wiring the money from a license transaction to the State Treasurer's office and into the license account instantly. The program could also make for more accurate data collection on the other side as well. Hamrick says one of the goals will be to use the Point of Sale system to instantly transfer check station information as well during deer, turkey, or bear season.

"I'm confident the DNR can be the first state agency to complete $1 Million in transactions over the Internet." Says Governor Wise.