HELENA — It’s that time of the year when Montanans have to re-up their fishing and hunting licenses. But this year Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is changing things up a little bit and giving people a digital option to stay legal and organized.
“This new app is essentially a digital wallet, so it’s a way for folks to store their licenses, permits or e-tags in an app," FWP Regional Communications and Education Program Manager Dillon Tabish told MTN.
Don’t worry, if cell phones aren't your thing this app is not replacing the traditional paper tags. People can still buy and print those or get them in person. This app is just another option for hunters and anglers to stay organized. But heads-up if you do decide to go paperless this year. Especially with Hunting.
“Once you basically opt for E-Tags, you have them downloaded to your phone, and then it’s hunting season and you hopefully harvest a nice deer or elk and instead of now notching your paper-tag, cutting out the date, you essentially go through the validation process on your phone, " said Tabish. "And there is three prompts, and that’s a way, a kind of a fail-safe way to make sure you don’t accidentally validate your E-Tag. Because you don’t want to validate your E-Tag until the time of harvest. I’d say the one little hiccup that we’ve had so far with this app rollout is that some folks are confused by validating, what that validation means. So we’re really trying to clarify to folks, validating the E-Tag is the same as notching your paper tag, and you do not want to validate your E-Tag obviously until after your harvested your animal. So those fail-safes are in place to try and prevent folks from just clicking through and not realizing they are validating their E-Tag."
In addition to that, if you take your animal to a taxidermist or processor, you’ll have a confirmation number that you get with your E-Tag validation. That will go with the animal instead of a paper tag to make sure you’re covered it a game warden stops by.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve customer service and efficiency so that what we provide to our customers is in a simple manner and it also helps to give them things that they are looking for," said Tabbish. "More and more hunters and anglers have their phones with them in the field and so an app like this where they can keep all their licenses, permits and e-tags in one convenient location and seems like a natural evolution for our agency to provide this as an option and that’s the important part. This is just an option, we’re not going to force anybody to use the app, it’s just another tool for them if they want to use it.”
The App will work with no cell service, and FWP knows this is new technology, so if you do make a mistake using it, let them know about it.