Report: Deer check stations being phased out in Ohio

Cleveland Plain Dealer outdoors writer D'Arcy Egan is reporting that major changes are being discussed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

According to Egan, the Buckeye State's DOW is preparing to change the way it does business, eliminating deer and turkey check stations and streamlining its fishing and hunting license sales.

From the story:

Sue Howard, executive administrator of business operations, says the new plan is to be put in place by March, 2010. It would:

Allow Buckeye deer and turkey hunters to notify the DOW of their success by telephone or computer instead of having to haul their game to a check station.

Establish a new system of Ohio license and permit sales and encourage anglers and hunters to go online to get them. Tackle shops and big box stores will still sell licenses, but would have to use their own computer equipment and special printer paper.

Eliminate the fee given to sportsmen's clubs serving as license agents, a funding source for youth and conservation programs. The clubs would apply to the DOW for grants to fund those programs.

The DOW is taking bids on the licensing system until Jan. 1, said Howard. That gives the DOW more than a year to implement the changes.

Howard said the DOW point-of-sale terminals installed at 1,313 license outlets since 1999 have cost almost $8 million. They're old, are breaking down and difficult to repair. The license vendors now pay from $52 to $416 for a point-of-sale terminal. The fee will be standardized, and their cut of each license or permit sold will increase from 50 cents to a buck.

Egan goes on to note that sportsmen have long had the option to go online to get their licenses and permits, but that only about 5 percent do right now. Egan predicts the DOW metal tags wrapped around the antlers of a big buck at check stations will become collector's items.

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