Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Wisconsin licensing barcode opportunities lost

As you toss that last Wisconsin deer hunting backtag into the fireplace, notice the barcode on the right-hand edge.  That’s right, this is your individual barcode that DNR staff could use to scan and come up with customer information.


Think of this scenario.  A gun deer hunter, trying to stay warm on a windy, snowy Nov. 19 morning, is approached by a field warden who wants to check his license.  The license is three layers deep inside coats, pants and more. 

Wouldn’t it have been nice if there was a small card on the hunter’s back that the warden could scan with his smart phone, saving the hunter from digging through all those layers?

Instead, the hunter must provide a paper license, with the same barcode, or the conservation card, with the same barcode, or the driver’s license that accesses the records.

Sometimes, in a hurry to make changes for the sake of changes, our political teams throw out convenience with the bathwater.  Usually those changes are related to a hunter who has strong political ties and was “pinched” for a violation.

Other states and other “users” carry a type of backtag that is used for numerous purposes.  Notice those necklaces with cards that teachers, doctors, and nurses wear?  It tells customers who they are and also is the employee’s password and keys to the machinery of the day.

I saw a Wisconsin trout angler with a similar necklace and asked him what it was.  “Oh, that’s my Pennsylvania fishing license from a trip I took.”

Wardens do use binoculars out on Lake Michigan to read the actual license of a fisherman on a charter boat.  The warden can stay in his boat; the angler can stay in his boat. All’s accomplished in a matter of minutes.

Do you see the next step?

Methodology will be improved someday to read a barcode with a pair of binoculars and that information will be transmitted from the binoculars (reader) to the warden’s smart phone.

How slick will that be?

And we were told backtags were old school.


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