Hunting, fishing licenses available in hard card

Oh Licenses
Ohio’s plastic credit-card-like hunting and fishing license joins those being offered by other states like Florida.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is embracing plastic.

No, not credit card use to buy hunting and fishing licenses and the agency’s rather extensive menu of permits and such. The agency’s been taking credit card orders for some time now.

What we’re talking about here are actual plastic, credit card-size hunting and fishing licenses, the kind you can slip into your wallet.

Gone then is the fear that a tumble into a duck marsh, along a steelhead stream or similar wallet drowning will require drying out a paper document on the dashboard of a Jeep.

I should know as I’ve done both the marsh thing and the trout stream thing. Along with diving to the bottom of the local YMCA swimming pool to retrieve my water-logged wallet. It’s an embarrassing story that I’d just as soon not go into, thank you very much.

Anyway, Ohio has joined a growing list of states that provide – for a slight extra fee – a plastic (again, credit-card-size) hunting or fishing license, or both.

Since I buy my multi-year Ohio resident licenses when they become due, this time around for my combo hunting-fishing license I went plastic for an additional $4.

Just as I did back in December when I bought my annual Florida saltwater fishing license and the accompanying Florida State Reef Fish Angler endorsement. That plastic card cost me $5, but the card-license’s artwork is really cool: Featuring a billfish and a largemouth bass.

It appears that I am not alone in buying a resident Ohio license-card, either. The Wildlife Division reports that at last count, 48,218 multi-year license buyers purchased an additional plastic card. Broken down, that figure was made up of 37,491 fishing licenses and 10,725 hunting licenses.

Buyers of lifetime licenses get their cards for free, and here a total of 16,016 cards have been issued. Divvied up, the numbers are 10,577 for fishing licenses and 5,439 for hunting licenses.

The front of the Ohio card features the Wildlife Division’s familiar emblem incorporating line art of a white-tailed deer, an American bald eagle, and a walleye. The card’s flip side displays the license number along with the expiration date(s). Thrown in is another, smaller, license card like the kind consumers use as store IDs for discounts and such.

Oh, single year license buyers cannot buy a card nor can non-residents, unlike Florida. But I digress.

“To answer the question as to why we offer the cards, in looking back, we have tried to keep our licenses the size of credit cards so they can easily be stored in wallets,” said Wildlife Division executive administrator for information and education Brian Banbury.

When the agency transitioned to multiyear licenses “it made sense to offer a more durable option for our customers,” Banbury said.

As far as popularity, “that is subjective,” Banbury said, with customers who buy them seemingly also liking them.

“I can say that approximately 22% of the multiyear license buyers also purchase the hard card,” Banbury said.

“We also know that several folks now use the app on their phone to store their license for convenience and that probably keeps card requests down a bit,” Banbury said as well.

Categories: Ohio – Jeffrey Frischkorn

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