Hank Shelley

COLUMN: Paper gone, electronics in

It was salmon season, and the mist drifted over the dark green waters of the Shuswap River’s corner pin pool.

Two lady anglers were called up off the rocks for a licence check. The one without her angling licence and salmon stamp giggled, squirmed and then fessed up – she didn’t have one.

Although federal fisheries officers deal with salmonids, pollution and habitat, they also help conservation officers on compliance and violations of anglers and hunters at road checks.

For the many years I helped the conservation officers (COs)checking hunters and anglers, there were small hints – like blood on a licence handed to you. Or a wet net when they said they had no fish in the boat.

The gal checked for an angling license and didn’t have one – with a woman, they’d never look you in the eye, or they’d look away, – whereas a guy would have at least dozen excuses while you wrote out the ticket.

Paper licences were basic, with info written down or (catch) recorded.

Now, to some of us older hunters and anglers, it’s hard to adjust to a changing world where at a click of a mouse a whole new world awaits – electronically that is. For many of us, it means a trip to the Access Centre (Front Counter BC) for a bit of help in applying for our Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) draws, or to obtain our new hunting license.

To start with, your paper booklet will no longer be used. When getting the new license, all information will be entered on your Fish and Wildlife profile. Only species licences will continue to be paper-based. If you don’t want to purchase on line, you can still go to a Service BC Center.

How will I provide proof to a CO that I have a licence?

Conservation officers will have access on their mobile devices to your Fish and Wildlife profile, licenses credentials and LEH.

You will have to carry your species licenses with you at all time when hunting. Each species license is good for one harvest only. Also, the species licence will not be canceled in the electronic system.

Hunters are still required to notch the paper species licence following the harvest of an animal. As mentioned, your hunting licence will be visible on your Fish and Wildlife profile. If you buy your licence at a vendor, or Access Center, you’ll be given a receipt that will include all licenses you have bought, including species licences.

The electronic world has hit us with a bang and is now speeding up with even greater technological advances.

For enforcement agencies, such as COs and federal fisheries enforcement units, if your name was Ron Smith, and you had a fisheries violation, we could bring your name up on our CEPIK and, in seconds, all the Smiths with violations, past and present, would appear on the screen. So your hunting profile will be on an app, on a computer, in a dark blue truck with conservation officer written on the side doors parked alongside the road.

For us old guys, we better adapt if we love the outdoors, or take up lawn bowling.