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Montana makes changes to 2020 licenses system

Bob St. Pierre of Minnesota follows his German shorthair pointer while hunting Montana pheasants on islands in the Missouri River via canoes. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Bob St. Pierre of Minnesota follows his German shorthair pointer while hunting Montana pheasants on islands in the Missouri River via canoes. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

Montana hunters and anglers can expect a few changes this year when they buy their 2020 licenses starting March 1.

The most visible change Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks customers will see is to license paper. Starting this year, both licenses and carcass tags will be printed on normal-sized paper, and license buyers will be able to print them at home, according to an agency news release.

For years, FWP licenses and tags have been produced on weather-resistant paper. This paper is not only expensive but requires printing technology so outdated that it’s nearly impossible to replace. The switch to standard 8.5-by-11-inch paper will provide savings and be easier for customers.

Hunters won’t have to wait for special permits or licenses to come in the mail from FWP, but rather can print them at home or at their local license provider, according to the release.

This change also reinforces the fact that Montana hunters can have licenses on their mobile devices and not printed out. While carcass tags still need to be printed out, other licenses, such as a fishing license, do not. If checked in the field, this electronic version of your license is legal.

Hunters applying for licenses or permits in 2020 will also be able to do so online or at an FWP office. Mail-in applications will no longer be accepted.

With modern technology, the number of online applications continues to steadily grow: 86% of Montana hunters choose this method.

The small percentage of mail-in applications creates a time-consuming, expensive and inefficient delay in the license-drawing process, according to the release. Mail-in applications must be entered manually in the licensing system, leaving room for human error and delays.

Customers who still look for written guidance to help them through the application process will find information sheets online or at an FWP office in the coming weeks. These information sheets will not be accepted as applications.

This simple change means that drawing results will be available two weeks after the application deadline, rather than six weeks.

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