Go Wild: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources launches new licensing system

MADISON - A new licensing system that provides additional options for buying hunting and fishing licenses was launched Thursday, March 17th by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Implementation of the new system is part of a broader Go Wild campaign that encourages people to head outdoors and enjoy the numerous recreational opportunities made possible by the sound management of Wisconsin's natural resources.

The new system, accessible at GoWild.Wi.Gov, allows customers to get licenses, tags and other DNR products through more than 1,000 vendors statewide, at DNR Service Centers and offers easy access on mobile devices through the website. The new system secures licensing and registration information electronically and enables customers to use a variety of methods for providing proof of purchases while out enjoying Wisconsin's exceptional natural resources. New proof of purchase opportunities provided through Go Wild include an optional personal conservation card, an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license, a plain paper copy or a pdf display on a mobile device such as a smartphone.

"We're excited to introduce these new options as we work to make all of our great outdoor recreational activities more accessible than ever before," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "With Go Wild, there's no more waiting for regular retail hours or a delay until a license arrives by mail. We also expect the optional personal conservation card to be a big hit. Some customers have already told us they plan to get multiple cards so they can keep a version handy in their tackle box, hunting kit and glove compartment of a recreational vehicle."

Mark Rappe, of DNR's bureau of customer and outreach services, said the department conducted extensive testing on the system to ensure it would be ready for the high customer volume associated with the spring turkey hunt. In recent years, hunters have purchased approximately 100,000 "leftover" permits not issued through the spring turkey permit drawing. This year, the sales for Zone 1 permits begin March 21 at 10 a.m.; Zone 2 permits on March 22; Zone 3 permits on March 23; Zone 4 permits on March 24 and Zones 5, 6 and 7 on March 25. More than 109,000 spring turkey permits will be available in all and leftover sales will continue for all zones on March 26.

"We believe our hunters will find the new Go Wild system easier to navigate with the added benefit of paper carcass tags," Rappe said. "Hunters will be able to print these out themselves or receive a copy from the vendor. The tags still need to be validated upon harvest but for most species hunters will be able to keep the completed tags with them as long as they are with the carcass."

Rappe said GoWild.WI.Gov also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Wisconsin's great outdoors. The site links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, Wisconsin's unparalleled network of state parks, trails and natural areas and a variety of maps.

No fee increases are planned as part of the upgrade and online user convenience fees have been eliminated for customers who use electronic checks. Online service options include hunting licenses, fishing licenses and Conservation Patron licenses.

Later this month boat, snowmobile, ATV and UTV registrations will be added. Once implementation is complete, GoWild.Wi.Gov also will be the spot to get ATV, UTV and snowmobile trail passes, sign-up for a safety education courses and much more.

This year, renewal notices for ATVs and UTVs were sent out in January and renewal notices for boats will be arriving in customer's mailboxes over the weekend or early next week. For those recreational vehicles that expire at the end of the month, customers will need to keep a copy of the renewal notice in their vehicle until they receive the registration stickers in the mail.

The system also makes it easier to obtain a reprint or printed hard-copy of the original hunting, trapping or fishing approval or safety certificate. With the ability to reprint products from the convenience of home, there is no need to drive to a license agent to purchase a duplicate if you lose your license or carcass tags.

While the new Go Wild system will not provide the option of purchasing by phone, DNR customer service agents will be able to assist customers who would like assistance as they navigate the system or have questions about a transaction. The customer service number remains 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).