E-permits To Skip Lines

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COLUMBIA - Conservation Department officials said Thursday a new e-permit project lets hunters and fishermen print out permits at home. This allows hunters to skip the lines at stores that sell traditional permits.

Gene Smith, an employee at one store that sells the traditional yellow-adhesive permits, said the the 24/7 available will be convenient.

"In the past, somebody was wanting to go hunting on opening day and it was the Friday before and they couldn't find any place to get a tag, they were out of luck," he said. "Now, they can print their own any time they feel like it."

The official permit is the paper copy from any home printer. Hunters do not need to wait two weeks to receive a permit in the mail. The additional fee for the e-permit is $1.

Richard Whetmore, a local fisherman, said the e-permits will be convenient for those who do not want to drive in to a store.

"E-permits, I think will be a good thing, especially for anybody that's in a rural area and doesn't have easy access," Whetmore said.

Smith agreed that it will make getting a permit from out in the country more convenient.

"I know where I live, there's one place in the whole country that I know of where you can buy a tag," he said. "It makes it kind of difficult to get there sometimes. Now anybody can print it out on their own computer and you're good to go."

The permits are available around the clock, so hunters don't need to worry about vendor store hours. Since the permit is on regular paper, though, officials recommend putting it in a plastic bag to protect it from mud and water.

Other states already have the e-permit system in place. Department of Conservation official, Tom Strother, said the department learned from other states' mistakes to avoid fraud risks with the permits.

"There are other states that have already been where we are going right now, and have experience, you know, with the things that might need tweaking and that sort of thing to make their system more effective," Strother said. "We've already used some of their experiences when we built our system."

Traditional permits are still sold at vendors. Hunters and fishermen can also order permits over the phone, but that comes with a two-week wait.

The permits are available at www.mdc.mo.gov.