One November Saturday last year, a hunting buddy who will remain nameless arrived at our favorite spot early in the morning, ready to fill his deer tag.
Then he realized that he’d left an important piece of equipment — his hunting license — back home, about 25 miles away.
For about five minutes, we chatted about the situation. My buddy explained that if a game warden did stop by, he’d be able to prove that he had a license by pulling out his phone and showing a copy of it, or the on-line receipt that was emailed to him after buying it.
“Would that be good enough?” we wondered.
We decided it might not pass a warden’s muster. On the bottom of our paper licenses, after all, are a few ominous words: “License is not valid until signed by licensee.”
And since these were on-line copies, he’d not signed them.
In the end, my buddy hopped back in his truck, headed home, and retrieved his license before joining the hunt more than an hour later.
This year, according to a press release issued by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a similar situation won’t cause the same angst.
The department announced that the Maine Online Sportsman’s Electronic System — often called MOSES — is now faster and (finally) fully mobile.
Among other things, that mean’s you can purchase a license from your phone or tablet.
So, say you’re at a buddy’s camp, and you decide, at the last minute, that you’d really like to go fishing. He’s got rods and lures you can borrow.
But you haven’t bought your license yet.
No worry: Just head to mefishwildlife.com and tap into the MOSES link, and you can have a digital license in just minutes.
And if you happen to forget your license at home like my buddy did, the DIF&W release says it’s now OK to hunt or fish without a paper license in hand, and to simply display it on your phone.
“These improvements eliminate unnecessary steps and presents new purchasing options,” said Bill Swan, the department’s director of licensing. “We listened to user comments regarding the service and these changes should improve our customers’ experience.”
According to the DIF&W, the MOSES system was introduced in 2003, and about 40 percent of the hunting and fishing licenses purchased each year come via the internet.