Dead are all of the bills that would have paved the way (financially)
for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish a point-of-sale
computerized license program.
Quite ill--perhaps terminally--is the concept. But there still is the
slightest little heartbeat blip showing on the monitor of the patient as
conference committees wind up the legislative process for the current,
As you know, House Bill (HB) 1656 made its way through two committees
and floor action in the originating house. It would have given the DNR
authority to use roughly $5 million of a fund (roughly $20 million) that
is derived from the sale of lifetime hunting/fishing licenses.
For the record, the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is authorized
to use roughly two percent per year of this fund.
The rub comes from the fact that the DFW wants to use roughly $5 million
of this fund in a one-shot deal that would help establish a point-of-sale
computerized program. Said computerized license-sale program would (at
the touch of a computer button) offer many plus features for the fish/wildlife
agency and outdoorsmen of the state, many of whom purchased that $20 million
worth of lifetime licenses.
Frankly I do not consider this modern-day cyber setup as a member of
my inner circle of friends. But computers beat the Golden Rod tablet and
a well-sharpened lead pencil from here to eternity. Computers are a way
So much for my editorializing and on with the story.
After passing the House of Representatives, HB 1656 was assigned and
passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee. From there it went to the
Senate Finance Committee, but was not "heard." This, in effect, killed
the last hope of the bill. But did it?
Officials of the DNR and its satellite (DFW) are not climbing up on
stumps, soap boxes and other elevated projections to state their case and
hopes, but I hear there is a move in the works to have provisions of HB
1656 inserted into HB 1552, a generalized DNR "house-cleaning" measure
which must be acted upon this week by a conference committee of legislators
from both houses.
This could pull the point-of-sale chestnuts out of the fire. The concept
certainly is germane to the bill in question. Before this can happen, we
are told, such a move would have to gain the nod of Sen. Lawrence "Larry"
Borst, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
For some time now it has been possible to purchase hunting/fishing
licenses online (with a computer). Last year some 11,000 licenses were
purchased via the Access Indiana program which is not connected to state
Purchase of a license costs a little more than the price of the license,
and I am told the fee goes up as the price of the license rises. But it
is a good service. It can be accessed by going to www.wildlife.IN.gov.
Should the DNR be successful in getting the point-of-sale concept through
the legislature, the Access Indiana service will be continued, a DFW spokesman
The Outdoor Smorgasbord
Streams and rivers and the larger lakes and reservoirs of the state
are at, or near, spring normal levels and clear, but the best fishing will
be found in farm ponds, small watershed lakes and other small standing
waters because smaller, shallow water warms more quickly.
We are not yet getting vibes on bluegills acting "nesty" but the recent
cold snap can be blamed for that . . .
The mushroom picture hasn't changed much in the past week (cool weather
can be blamed for that, too). Continued warm, sunny days could change that
before the weekend . . . However, although redbud has exploded in the southern
third of the state, other wildflower indicators are well behind in central
parts of the state and delayed even farther in the north.
The spring morel season could be the latest of many years past because
of the slow arrival of spring.