Dickinson, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota is selling small game
licenses to out-of-state hunters online, a change that in-state
business owners say will hurt.
“It’s not going to be good for local businesses,” said Greg
Knutson, owner of Andrus Outdoors in Dickinson. “Before, people
would come in here, or any store, and get their licenses locally
and then they would buy a box of shells or a vest, or maybe even
sometimes a shotgun. But this year, I don’t see that happening. I’m
really not happy about the whole thing.”
Paul Schadewald, an administrator with the state Game and Fish
Department, said online sales make the process more convenient.
“With the online system, you don’t have licenses that you have
to inventory,” Schadewald said. “That’s all something that we don’t
have to handle anymore.”
Schadewald said the option of online licensing has been
available for about 10 years, and waterfoul licenses underwent the
same transition about four years ago.
“Last year we did just over 80 percent online,” he said.
Schadewald said he knows some businesses are upset about the
change. He said vendors who can access the Internet at their
business can still provide licenses to customers.
Knutson is still able to offer the service, but the Mott Equity
Exchange in Mott is not.
“I think they’re all going to come in unexpectedly this year to
buy a license and be shocked, and then not know where to get a
license,” said Sherry Friedt, general manager of the Equity
Schadewald said hunters who don’t have access to the Internet
can use a telephone to purchase a hunting license.
“There is a service charge on the telephone, but it is there if
they do have problems finding a license,” Schadewald said. “We call
them instant licenses, in that as soon as they hang up, they’re
able to go hunting. They’re considered to be licensed.”
The “instant license” is generated electronically and the
hunters will be given a verification number. They can then hunt
without having a paper copy of the license, but a copy will
eventually be mailed to them, Schadewald said.
“Eventually, they (hunters) won’t be coming in at all, once this
gets out,” Friedt said. Still, she said she understands why state
officials made the change.
“They’re just keeping up with the times,” Friedt said.