Online game licenses gaining popularity

Hunters and anglers in a couple of Midwestern states can now get their licenses

issued electronically.

Iowa has unveiled a new system in which any resident with a state driver's

license can get a hunting or fishing license within 15 seconds, said Richard

Smith of the state's Department of Natural Resources' licensing bureau.

A pilot project is in place with four machines set up at retail establishments,

which sells such licenses in the state.

"It's really taking us into the 21st century," Smith said. "You just can't

do business the same old way anymore."

Smith said a bar-coded Iowa driver's license is swiped through a machine

that resembles a credit card machine, and a resident's personal information

is instantly accessed. A sale is then made, and a license is printed for

about 50 cents above the normal cost of the hunting or fishing license.

If the pilot project is successful, Iowa, which issues about 1.2 million

privileges annually, has plans to roll out 900 machines by October. Smith

said the system is more accurate, faster and less labor intensive. The project

costs about $1.1 million.

In Arkansas, residents can go to the state's Game and Fish Commission Web

site (www.agfc.com) and print out a valid hunting or fishing license anywhere

in the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Users enter their personal information and choice of licenses and permits.

After entering a credit card number, a license, encoded with a unique number

verifying its authenticity, can be printed from the user's home printer.

The online program has been operational for two months, and about 1,000

hunting and fishing licenses have been purchased at the Web site.

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