Permit/License System Improved

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today announced changes regarding the purchase of sporting licenses and permits that are designed to make it easier for people to use DEC?s new automated licensing system (DECALS).

"Our goal with DECALS is to provide the public with easy access to purchasing sporting licenses and permits," Commissioner Crotty said. "Due to some early difficulties with the new computerized system, we are extending the deadline for applying for Deer Management Permits and improving the process for purchasing licenses over the phone. We regret any inconveniences experienced by the public or licensing agents and hope these steps will make the system more accessible and efficient."

The application period for Deer Management Permits (DMPs) has been extended to October 15, 2002. Hunters are reminded that they do not have to immediately apply for a DMP since the selection is random, not on a first-come, first-served basis. The chance of obtaining a DMP is the same if you apply today or October 15th or anytime in between.

Deer Management Permits, which allow hunters to take one antlerless deer, are an important tool for managing the State?s deer population. Hunters may obtain up to two DMPs during the application period that ends October 15th. DEC will make any permits remaining after October 15th available in early November. At that time, remaining permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and every hunter may apply for up to two additional deer management permits. DEC expects to issue approximately 600,000 DMPs this year.

Hunters who want to apply for a license over the phone will be able to do so from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The toll-free telephone number remains the same, 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257). Additional operators have been added to handle calls. Calling at later hours should reduce any delays some callers may experience.

People who have lifetime sporting licenses should be receiving back tags and other materials in the mail. If you are a lifetime license holder and have not received these materials by September 25th, please contact DEC toll-free at 1-866-472-4332. Lifetime license holders do not need to wait to receive their back tags and carcass tags to apply for a DMP, but can apply now at any license issuing agent.

DEC also encourages people to consider purchasing a habitat stamp. Available for the first time, the habitat stamp costs $5, with all revenues deposited in a newly created habitat account of the Conservation Fund and dedicated solely to conserve fish and wildlife habitats and increase public access to lands for fish- or wildlife-related recreation.

Since DECALS began operating statewide on August 26, 2002, more than 515,000 licenses and permits have been issued to more than 219,000 customers. DECALS is working much more efficiently as a result of system improvements implemented during its initial week. More than 1,000 sales outlets are handling an average of 18,600 transactions on weekdays. There are approximately 1,450 outlets equipped with DECALS.

On August 26, 2002, DECALS replaced the traditional paper system that required licensing agents to fill out detailed reports and send them to DEC. The new system will allow DEC to provide a full range of services at the point of sale and also use the central database to survey customers about proposed changes in sporting programs and issue renewal reminders.