"Those [senior-license] applications are duplicate forms that come in pads, 25 to each pad and 200 to a box. Any Walmart would have been sent a bunch of forms. If they run out, all they have to do is let us know and we'll send them more."
Taylor said the reader's inability to get an application was the first senior license-related complaint he'd received.
"All the information so far has been positive," he explained. "We're right there in the ballpark with [the number] we thought we would sell in the first year. Sales have been good. So far, we're pretty pleased."
DNR officials began selling the licenses to gain a larger share of federal excise taxes specially earmarked for fish and wildlife programs. License sales are one of the factors that determine how much money each state gets, and West Virginia was losing money because it didn't require people 65 and older to purchase licenses.
Rather than burden seniors with having to purchase annual licenses, DNR officials got the bright idea of creating a one-time $25 "senior lifetime license" that had to be purchased by anyone who turned 65.
The feds agreed to give West Virginia 10 years' worth of benefit for every senior lifetime license sold. The money will benefit many of the state's fish- and game-enhancement projects.
Every new DNR initiative, including the senior license, has growing pains in its initial stages. My reader's difficulty getting an application is a case in point.
All this should be rendered moot within a year or so, which is when agency officials hope to do away with traditional licenses and go to a fully electronic system. All licenses would be purchased via computer, smart phone or electronic tablet, and all big-game animals would be checked electronically.
At least that's the plan.