CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia wildlife officials are hoping to launch a totally electronic licensing and game-checking system by 2014.
Until then, they'll probably continue to get complaints from hunters and anglers upset about the current licensing system.
I received an email recently from a senior citizen who has tried several times this fall and winter to pick up an application form for one of the new senior lifetime licenses. Each time, the reader went to his local license agent - a Walmart store - and each time, he was told they had no senior-license applications.
Ultimately, a Walmart clerk told the reader he should drive to a DNR office to pick up the application. Needless to say, the suggestion didn't go over too well.
"It shouldn't be this hard to get a license that I wouldn't have had to get if I was just one year older," the reader wrote. "You would think that the [Division of Natural Resources] would have applications at every license station since they had two years to get ready for this fiasco. I should not have to go out of my way to get a license."
I contacted DNR officials to find out if applications are really that hard to get, or if the reader's problem had been an isolated instance.
Curtis Taylor, chief of the agency's Wildlife Section, said all license agents have a special phone number they can call to request additional forms, licenses and stamps.
"When we get those calls, we usually get the stuff in the mail that very same day," Taylor added. "If a license agent has run out of forms and hasn't requested additional ones, we have no way of knowing to send out more."
He said large-volume agents such as Walmart ordinarily are sent more of everything.