New Licensing System in Spring 2003

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Paper hunting licenses, conservation certificates, long forms and waiting in lines will soon be a part of hunting history in Colorado. The Division of Wildlife's (DOW) licensing system is getting a makeover, and a faster, easier, more efficient and more convenient system for selling hunting and fishing licenses will be unveiled in 2003. Hunters and anglers will be able to buy a license anytime, anywhere.

Under the new "Total Licensing System (TLS)," scheduled to get under way in April, the DOW no longer will issue paper licenses to license agents. Instead, agents and DOW offices will use point-of-sale computer terminals, which will print licenses on demand, to sell licenses electronically. All available licenses can be obtained at any license agent, or even purchased over the Internet or by telephone.

"This is a major step," said DOW Director Russ George. "It will make it easier for our customers to obtain a license, and improve the Division's customer service and ability to issue licenses and monitor all aspects of our licensing operations."

Rob Molloy, the DOW's TLS project manager, pointed out that the Total Licensing System is an easier, more modern system.

"There is less room for error," Molloy said. "And with TLS' Internet and telephone capabilities, it's much easier to get something at the last minute before hunting or fishing."

License agents also will be able to provide other services, such as replacing licenses, changing a customer's address or other information, and possibly even selling leftover drawing licenses.

To get a license - which will have a completely new look - from an agent or at a DOW office, a customer would come in, identify themselves and tell the agent or DOW employee what type of license he or she would like to buy. The agent then enters the information into the terminal by swiping a driver's license or by keying it in from the customer or a previously purchased hunting or fishing license. The terminal uses a telephone line to link to a toll-free number, where the system looks up the customer's account and verifies license eligibility. If the buyer is a new customer, a new account will be created.

The agent then collects the license fee, prints the license, and gives it to the customer, along with carcass tags if the license requires them. All privileges purchased are printed on a single, compact, durable document about the size of a credit card (when folded) along with necessary customer information.

While conservation certificates will be phased out, a hunter safety class still will be required for a hunting license.

To get a license by phone, the buyer would call a toll-free license sales number and give a customer service agent his or her identifying information and indicate the desired license. The agent then connects to the system, which processes the information. The buyer pays with a credit card and tells the agent the way he or she wants to receive the license, by mail or pick up at an agent or DOW office. The customer gets a temporary authorization number, and can receive a receipt by mail.

Hunters or anglers wired to the Web also can buy a license on the Internet by logging onto the DOW's Web site, www.wildlife.state.co.us, and accessing the licensing page. After entering identifying information, indicating the desired license, method of payment and preferred method of license delivery, the customer receives a temporary authorization number and can print a receipt.

In most cases, licenses purchased online or by telephone will be mailed within seven days, and for licenses not requiring carcass tags or waterfowl stamps, the authorization number allows the buyer to hunt or fish on the same day of purchase. Account information also will be available on the Internet and by telephone 24 hours a day.

Applicants for limited licenses will follow a similar process, and they will be notified about their success in the drawing by mail or e-mail. Unsuccessful applicants will be mailed a refund. While hunters still can apply the old way, the new process will be much simpler and more convenient, as they won't have to wait in line to apply at the last minute or worry about whether a mailed application made it in time for consideration.

In addition to being more convenient for hunters, the new system also will help wildlife by freeing up more of DOW employees' time.

Agents will no longer have to file remittance reports, and license revenues will be collected from agents through electronic fund transfers. The DOW will provide about 800 point-of-sale terminals and training to license agents statewide.

Molloy pointed out that, in addition to simplifying the license-buying process for hunters, anglers and agents, the new system is expected to provide more timely harvest information and help law enforcement officers track down offenders. Eligibility can be checked immediately, including license suspensions, licenses currently held, age of buyer and child support delinquency.

Central Bank of Missouri was awarded the contract to create the new system for the DOW. Central Bank currently runs systems similar to Colorado's in seven states: Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The bank and its partner, Automated Licensing Systems, designed, programmed and will maintain the system for at least five years. The agreement includes a $3 million performance bond and other financial guarantees to ensure the system runs smoothly.