Commission Hears of Pioneering New License Sales System
At its January meeting the Wildlife Conservation Commission heard about the ground-breaking new way hunting and fishing licenses are now being sold across the state.
The innovative Internet point of sale system has proven to be a genuine win-win opportunity for vendors, sportsmen, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Previously, books of hunting and fishing licenses were printed by the Wildlife Department, and mailed to approximately 900 license dealers across the state. Next, when a license was sold, the license was handwritten and mailed back to the Department for entry into a computer database.
“While the old system worked, it had several disadvantages including the costs involved in printing and postage, and the fact that it was relatively labor intensive and time consuming. The new Internet point of sale system is faster, more convenient and more accurate for everyone involved including the license buyer, the license dealer and the Wildlife Department,” said Melinda Sturgess-Streich, chief of administration for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The Internet point of sales system allows retailers to use a common personal computer with an Internet connection and a printer to provide timely and fool-proof licenses to hunters and anglers. Sturgess-Streich also pointed out the significant cost savings through the new system.
“It is time to make issuing hunting and fishing licenses easier for everyone,” Sturgess-Streich said. “It is not everyday that we can provide a better service for less money, but with this new system we are able to save the sportsmen and women of the state more than $250,000 each year through eliminating or significantly reducing many of the printing, postage and data entry costs. Additionally, by using a company that had developed this type of software and building on work done by our own staff, we saved about $1 million in start-up development costs.”
Currently, about 60 percent of the licenses purchased in the state are sold through the new system at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops and through the agency’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
In other business, the Commission voted to accept a donation of $2,500 from Nextep, Inc, a human resources company. The funds will be used to double the winter trout stockings at the Dolese Park pond, NW 50th and Meridian in Oklahoma City.
Since 2002, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has worked with the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department to improve fishing opportunities through the Close to Home fishing program. Winter trout stockings at the 16-acre Dolese Park pond have proven very popular among anglers, particularly among families throughout the metropolitan area.
In a separate agenda item, the Commission accepted a donation of a 1994 Kawasaki four-wheel drive all terrain vehicle. George Palmer, of Pryor, donated the vehicle, which will be used in law enforcement efforts in the area.
In other business, the Commission voted to approve emergency rules regarding mussel harvest and sales. The rule changes will require mussel harvesters to provide 24-hour notice regarding when and where they will be harvesting mussels. Additionally, the rule requires commercial mussel buyers to pay a 12.5 percent severance fee based off of sales receipts.
Also at the meeting, the Commission voted to accept a bid of $211 per acre from Samson Resources to lease the Wildlife’s Department’s half-interest mineral rights on 239 acres in Ellis County.
In other business, the Commission recognized four Department employees for their outstanding service to the sportsmen of the state, including three law enforcement employees with 30 years of service. Employees recognized were:
* Larry Manering, law enforcement chief, for 30 years of service;
* Dennis Maxwell, law enforcement assistant chief, for 30 years of service (retired effective Dec. 31, 2005);
* Jim Rolin, district 5 (central Oklahoma) law enforcement chief, for 30 years of service;
* Dennis Geary, wildlife biologist at Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and Fobb Bottom and Texoma/Washita Arm wildlife management areas, for 25 years of service.
The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department, and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
The next scheduled Commission meeting is Feb. 6 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation headquarters (auditorium), at the southwest corner of 18th and North Lincoln, Oklahoma City at 9:00 a.m.