Picture this: it’s bright and early on opening day and you’re ready to hit the woods for a good old fashioned day of hunting.
You’re halfway to your favorite hunting spot, your rifle in hand, all decked out in hunting gear and scent control, with plans for exactly which spots you want to hit before the sun goes down. In short, you’re all ready to go. Except one thing is missing, and it’s a big one: you forgot to get a hunting license. What do you do?
If you are living in Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources has an easy and innovative solution for you.
In June, the Minnesota DNR launched a new mobile-friendly website that allows sportsmen to purchase hunting and fishing licenses while on-the-go. That’s right, straight from your phone. How’s that for moving hunting into the modern age?
Screenshot from the Minnesota DNR mobile site via MN DNR
It’s not a comprehensive fix: the Minnesota DNR mobile license site only offers licenses for fishing and small game, but it can still salvage at least part of your day if you, for whatever reason, neglected to secure a hunting license. The best part is that the whole process is digital – the license included – so you won’t have to worry about misplacing it. If a state officer does ask you to present your license, you can merely pull it up via text message or email – a great option for those who have been itching for hunting to get a modernized kick.
The smartphone-optimized hunting site idea is a great one with lots of potential, and could become an absolute essential component to any hunter’s arsenal if more states adopt the method or if Minnesota starts adding license types. As of now, though, plenty of hunters have already found a use for the mobile site: the Minnesota Department of Natural resources says that it has already made 1,100 through the mobile site, and expects purchases to continue at a steady clip throughout hunting season.
Of course, there are certain limitations to who is allowed to use the mobile site. A Minnesota resident purchasing a license for the first time, for example, still needs to visit a licensing agent to contact the DNR directly.
Add the absence of deer or larger game hunting licenses and many will see the mobile site as somewhat superfluous, but Minnesota has still hit on an interesting concept here that is worth duplicating in other states. With how popular smartphones and mobile devices have become, it only makes sense to make it possible for hunters purchase licenses remotely, either through a mobile site or through a Department of Natural Resources application.
A mobile app would actually probably be superior to a mobile-optimized website, if only because it would offer a better place to store the fishing or hunting license for quick access. Text messages and emails can easily get buried or deleted, so it would be good to be able to open an app and bring up your license in just a few quick motions rather than having to dig through tons of communication to find it.