For one to two weeks starting the day after Christmas, the public will not be able to purchase hunting, fishing or trapping licenses, or secure a recreational marine fishing registration, or report their harvested game, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Friday.
The cause of the temporary blackout is that the DEC is switching from their computer system under Verizon to a new one under Accela. Verizon is getting out of the business of automated licensing, said Doug Stang, assistant director of DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, in a conference call with outdoor reporters late last month.
"We're switching over from the current system to a new one, and in order to do that, we are going to have what is called a blackout period during that time as we transfer the latest data and the latest information from the old system to the new system," Stang said.
DEC's new sporting license system is part of a larger, multi-agency state effort to consolidate licensing systems and make it easier to get licenses.
"If you know of a friend or relative that is planning to hunt, fish or trap, and who may not have already purchased a sporting license, please get the word to them about the blackout period and the need to purchase their license prior to December 26," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release.
Hunters are required by law to report any deer, bear or turkey harvested pursuant to a hunting license within seven days of taking the animal. During the blackout period, hunters will not be able to report their harvest; however, they will be given a seven-day grace period so they can report it once the new system is up and running.
DEC officials will make an announcement when the new system is operational, but they are unable to give an exact time. They do expect it to be running within two weeks.
"It's really difficult to say (when the new one will be up and running) because when anyone fires up a new system like this that is particularly large, even when you've done lots and have been testing for months and tried to run every scenario, there are issues that come about," Stang said.