The reason recreational fishermen and hunters are unable to get licenses to take the fish and game licenses for the current year is a new system is being installed at state Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters, a system its developers said will make it much easier for the sportsmen of our state to use.

A new three-year contract signed late in 2017 brings Nashville-based Sovereign Sportsman Solutions to the state to “to serve as the (LDWF) agency's exclusive provider of online licenses, permit registrations and other related services.”

S3, as company CEO Eric Richey calls his group, had staff in Baton Rouge last week to continue working with the LDWF’s Licensing Section.

Richey promised the new system is a step up in the 15-year-old technology of the old system, will be user friendly, and have built-ins to teach license buyers how to use the system.

“Buying a license will be easier,” Richey said, adding there will be features to handle other LDWF objectives like boat registration and hunter education.

The new system also will identify areas demanding attention from license buyers. For instance, fishermen wanting to purchase a saltwater license must have a basic fishing license, too, and will alert the prospective buyer to that need. The same thing will apply to big-game hunting and basic hunting license purchases.

“We’re here for the duration,” Richey said. “We’re not a set it and forget it company.”

He said S3 will be monitoring the new system, not only to refine the licensing process, but also to anticipate any changes the LDWF might need during and after the three-year contract run.

“We are pleased to be working with Sovereign Sportsman Solutions as our license vendor,” LDWF secretary Jack Montoucet said. “Our state's hunters, anglers, conservationists and others will greatly benefit from our modernized systems as we continue to offer them simplified license access and user-friendly license renewal opportunities.”

S3, an eight-year-old company, has 17 similar contracts in 8 other states.

Earlier this year, the LDWF announced a suspension of point-of-sale license sales, and expects vendors will be able to sell licenses April 2.

For now, recreational licenses and stamps are available at the LDWF’s offices in Baton Rouge, Opelousas, Lake Charles, Alexandria and Monroe, and from the LDWF’s website: wlf.la.gov.

Joe Macaluso