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Fish and Game Responds to Licensing Glitch

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will give hunters some extra time to apply for controlled hunts and Super Hunt.

The department is extending the deadline for applications to June 5 after the statewide computerized licensing system crashed on Friday.

The computers do not belong to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Fish and Game relies on a company called GTECH. That company has the contract to provide computerized licensing to the department through 2006.

Fish and Game experienced similar problems with the GTECH system toward the end of the controlled hunt application period last year. After last year's crash, GTECH told the department those problems were fixed and would not occur again. When the system started showing signs of problems early last week, GTECH continued to stand behind its system.

"Our contractor assured us these problems would not occur like they did last year" Licensing Supervisor Craig Wiedmeier said "Unfortunately, we had the same problems again this year."

The system failure not only caused problems for hunters trying to beat the deadline for controlled hunt applications. Anglers who were trying to get fishing licenses for the general season opener on Memorial Day weekend ended up standing in line as department employees scrambled to issue temporary licenses.

"We share the frustration of hunters, anglers and vendors who are dealing with this problem", Fish and Game Director Steve Huffaker said "We worked very hard to make sure this wouldn't happen again but it happened anyway. We're sorry, and we're doing our best to accommodate people who have had problems getting a license."

"If you're a vendor who can't sell a license, get the person's name and we'll make it right. If you're an angler who has tried but has been unable to get a license, go ahead and go fishing until the system is fixed and you can pick one up", Huffaker said.

Vendors and Fish and Game employees are busy issuing licenses and taking controlled hunt applications this week. However the GTECH system is still moving slowly. Hunters are encouraged to mail in applications for controlled hunts and Super Hunt to avoid further frustration. All applications that are postmarked by June 5 will be accepted.

The application is available in copies of the rules brochures for all species that are offered in controlled hunts. The rules brochures are available at all license vendors, at regional Fish and Game offices, and at Fish and Game Headquarters in Boise.