WDFW Seeks Comments On Mobile Licenses, E-tagging, Catch Reporting

Get it done, Kelly!

That would be my official public comment on WDFW’s proposal to allow anglers and hunters to use their phones for storing their licenses as well as electronically tagging big game and reporting their catches.

Used that last one just this morning to put another coho on my Oregon combined angling tag!

“The new rule changes would allow people to report using authorized mobile apps, which are currently in development. The mobile apps will allow users to store and display their recreational hunting and fishing licenses on their phone, e-tag, as well as report fish, shellfish, and game harvest,” explains WDFW in a press release.

“The use of the apps will be optional but is expected to make it easier and more convenient for hunters and anglers to record and report their harvest throughout the year, providing fast, up-to-date harvest data to the Department to inform future recreational opportunities. It will also improve enforcement by providing an alternative option to display licenses,” the agency adds.

When a county sheriff’s deputy needed to check my license recently, all I had to do was navigate the app to a certain colorful screen that proved I had the appropriate ODFW licenses, tags and endorsements, and we were both soon on our jolly ways.

To be clear, it hasn’t always gone so smoothly.

For reasons unknown, when I tried to record a previous coho, I first couldn’t get into ODFW’s app on my phone, then I couldn’t remember my login name and also couldn’t email myself a reminder about who the hell I was supposed to be. So I had to reset my password, relogin to the app, guess what my login name was and eventually record the catch, but not before suffering a series of panic attacks that I was five minutes slow filling out the form and the gamies were going to get me any second.

ODFW’s been using its electronic licensing system since the start of the 2019 license season and has had a chance to work out the bugs, so in this case it was likely operator error.

I think the biggest questions Washington hunters are going to have for WDFW will revolve around using a phone to tag big game and turkeys, say, in an area sans cell coverage. Under the proposal, hunters who go the e-tagging route would need to use their phone to electronically record their kill, then write the confirmation number they receive and the day of the harvest “in ink on material that can withstand the elements” and then affix that to the critter for the haul out. For wont of availability of “material that can withstand the elements” at Fred Meyers and whatnot, one can imagine a successful deer hunter resorting to ripping off a shirt sleeve and getting out a Sharpie or something.

Even so, since WDFW announced yesterday afternoon that it’s looking for comment, the input has been pretty supportive.

“Yes please! No reason this shouldn’t already be done when we live in a tech capital! Please make sure I can also keep track of my kids catch record cards and tags WITHOUT having to log in and log out of separate accounts,” reads one commenter.

“I support this. When I moved to Washington from Oregon, I was surprised that Washington did not already have this in place. Oregon’s MyODFW app makes it incredibly easy to see and display your hunting tags and licenses on a device that we all carry with us 24/7. Retaining the option to carry paper tags/licenses should remain in place, for obvious reasons,” states another.

But there are concerns for WDFW to address.

“torn on this one, yes easier to get what you need and don”t have to fill out punch cards a with smearing lousy pieces of paper but big brother knows exactly where you were and exactly what time and more info then I want to give, I’m not talking about poaching, it becomes public info so this will be social media on steroids,” someone worried.

Still, most seem ready for Washington to get with the times.

“Yes please it’s 21st century,” states another commenter.

You can provide input four ways: at WDFW’s comment portal, by sending an email to mobile-licensing-102@PublicInput.com, calling 855-925-2801, entering code 1366 and leaving a voice mail, and at a public hearing held via Zoom on October 24 from 1-2:30 p.m.