Michigan DNR Has Flawed License System

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Auditors have been looking into Michigan's hunting and fishing license system. They have found that the system is antiquated and making some serious mistakes. People have been able to buy hunting or fishing licenses, even though their rights have been revoked, in most cases for not paying child support. 3,600 people that purchased 6,087 licenses did not list their age.

The DNR sells licenses online and in over 1500 stores across Michigan. Last year the annual income was $59 million. DNR says they are aware of the flaws, and are currently going through a $19 million upgrade. The system currently does not have a cancel sale for those ineligible. Also some people were able to buy more than one license, even if it is a one-license limit, as there is not a limit in the system. DNR said that is the hunter's responsibility to heed the limit.

"It's been a store-and-forward system since 1995," DNR spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said. "The upgrade that we're in the process of doing will make it a real-time system." The DNR is planning on having the updated system running by September 30, 2012. From MLive.com.


GooseHunter Jr's picture

Sounds like they have a REAL

Sounds like they have a REAL BIG flaw in my book.  I am sure alo0t of hunters took advantage of that and bought mukltiple tags when they were not suppose to.  You would think that most hunters would obey the rules even knowing that they could get away with it and it would be hard to bust them unless they can pull a person records from the field, but with the system and poor as it sounds I do not know if I would trust it.  Hopefully they get it all worked out before next year rolls around.

hunter25's picture

I would say that's a pretty

I would say that's a pretty big flaw!! And it seems that the homor system is not enough to keep guys from taking advantage of it once they figure it out. I can't imagine what someine is thinking when they sneak in to buy more tags than they know they are allowed. I would feel guilty about  it the whole time and be thinking about getting caught also. Any way that and the guys not paying child support are probably the biggest issues. Nineteen million dollars seems like an awfully huge amount to fix it but I assume they are planning to replace everything. It looks like they are workin off of a nearly twenty year old system so I'm sure there are other issues involved. Hopefully Michigan can get this sorted out and get things running the way they should be and everyone will be forced to obey the law as htey should have been already.

COMeatHunter's picture

Oops!  That's a pretty big

Oops!  That's a pretty big mistake.  And to make it worse, they've known about it.  It might be the responsibility of the sportsman to heed the rules.  But those who have already broken the rules and shouldn't be allowed to purchase a license aren't likely going to heed the rules--they've got nothing to lose!  And even more disappointing is the lack of enforcement for those they know broke the rules, either purchasing more than one license or purchasing a license when they weren't legally allowed to do so.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow, sounds like they need

Wow, sounds like they need quite an overhaul of the licensing system in Michigan.  I can see maybe a few people falling through the cracks, but to have thousands and thousands of mistakes?  I realise they sell hundreds of thousands of licenses, but still, that seems pretty unacceptable.

And I guess I would call it antiquated.  It seems like you can't fill out anything today without an error message popping up saying you left something blank.  So, there should be no excuse for them leaving off a birthday, unless it happens on manually filled out licenses.  In that cae, it's the sales agent who is not paying attention.

I also like that they check the daed-beat Dad list, and look for guys skipping child support payments.  Seems like alot of states are cross checking lists like that.  Whatever it takes to track them down, more power to them!

Retired2hunt's picture

  This is a serious hole


This is a serious hole within the check and balance system.  I would have thought that this would have been common or expected program language written into the system to catch and control the possible issues... but obviously it wasn't.  And I cannot believe that they are not going to have a fix in place until September 2012.  I would hope that since finding the holes within the system that they are now doing some patch work to correct what will be happening with license purchases up until that point in time within 2012 when it is fixed.

I also think there are two other problems.  First, Mr Weiss stated, "there's no guarantee that the high-tech upgrade will fix problems identified by auditors."  Then they better get better programmers or a better company providing the program work on the job because this is fixable by simply running a cross check against a data file for a given field and/or placing an "if/then" line of code within the program to eliminate blank entries (age of applicant).

And here is the second issue, "If we have to spend a boatload of money for a small increase in revenue, we have to make a business decision whether it's feasible," Weiss said.  Hello?!?!?!  This is not about revenue!!!  This is about ensuring those people not supposed to get licenses and not supposed to get multiple tags - don't get them.  It is ensuring those people behind on their child support are not spending money on a hunting license and tags.  It is to ensure poachers who are not supposed to get a license - don't!  Failing to do these opens the state up to some possible large lawsuits.  They may need a new spokesperson as well as programmers here.

This may open up a can of worms for other states as well. 

I also wonder since they now know of these people that received licenses that are currrently prohibited if they have notified them to stop or have blacklisted somehow to stop?  Maybe not if they are more concerned on the revenue side of this.  Not good Michigan DNR!






jaybe's picture

You are soooo right,

You are soooo right, Retired2Hunt. And this has been an issue for years.

I live in Michigan and get the Michigan Outdoor News that has a 'Cuffs and Collars' page in every issue. For a long time I was surprised when I read something like, "upon running a check, it was discovered that the man had purchased too many licenses." As you have stated, this should be a simple programming issue to prevent multiple purchases to the same driver's license number - yet it happens A LOT. It also should be a no-brainer to require that all fields (including age) be filled in before a license is issued online.

It's a bit difficult for me to imagine that it's going to cost multiplied millions of dollars to get this fixed, but I guess software companies have to make a living, too.