Anglers and hunters planning an outing or two after Christmas day and through the holidays have to scramble to get on line or to drop by a sporting license-sales agency sometime before Thursday.
The Department of Environmental Conservation will shut down license-issuing on Thursday to convert the current computerized system to a new system.
The shutdown is expected to be for about one to two weeks to set up a new DEC sporting license system, which will be part of a larger multi-agency effort statewide to make it easier to obtain sporting licenses on line for individuals and for the agents who issue licenses at nearly 1,500 sites across the state.
The blackout will also curtail game harvest reporting. Successful hunters are required to report deer and bear kills within a week after tagging a game animal.
For Western New York hunters, the bow and muzzleloader season ended last Tuesday. Hunters will have legally reported their harvest by this coming Tuesday prior to the Thursday shutdown.
Deer and bear seasons continue into the shutdown period, but officials will grant a seven-day grace period for harvest reports once the new system is in place.
Area hunters interested in the late waterfowl seasons or ongoing small-game seasons and anglers fishing streams or fortunate enough to find safe, fishable ice will be affected most by this license-sale shutdown.
The key word in all this system upgrading is “facilitate” when it comes to license purchases. The current on-line system takes some doing for the average Joe to get a sporting license. For years, it has been easier to obtain a non-resident licence in Pennsylvania, other northeastern stats and Ontario than through the Albany system now in place in New York.
Updates will be posted on the status of curtailing the Verizon system on Dec. 31 and installing the new Accela system and when it will be completed and be up and running.
To check on the upgrading progress, go to dec.ny.gov and search for license information.
After the blackout period, sporting licenses can then be obtained by phone at (866) 933-2257 or online at nyfgisales.appsolgrp.com/fgnyia/html/index.jsp.