CHEYENNE - If you were one of the people queued up at a Game and Fish regional office or license selling agent on the mornings of July 10 or 17 waiting to get a leftover license, the lines were quite short – nothing like only a few short years ago when the line at the Cheyenne headquarters would wrap around the building.
But, even with the shorter lines, licenses are being sold more quickly than in the past thanks to the internet. A total of3,264 leftover big game licenses were sold during the first hour on July 10, and 6,906 licenses before 9 a.m. on July 17. With licenses selling this quickly, many areas sold out in a few hours. For both days combined, 58 hunt areas sold out before 9 a.m.
The fastest area to sell out was an area with 25 doe/fawn antelope license that were all grabbed up within 15 seconds.Eleven more areas sold out in under a minute.
“It is important to remember that the computers can handle a virtually unlimited number of sportspersons all at the same time,” said Game and Fish computer programmer Tom Graham. “We can tell about how many people were queued up, ready to buy a leftover license online by looking at how many sportspersons had logged into the online licenses sales site during the hour leading up to 8 a.m. This year 1,272 and 1,623 folks were in the “virtual” lines on July 10 and 17 respectively. Because the computers can handle all of these folks at the same time, they did not have to wait for the person in front of them to get done once sales began at 8 a.m.”
Graham said it is important to remember that if you are, let’s say, the fifth person in line at a regional office, there are many more than just the four people you can see ahead of you in line. “All of the people sitting at their computers at home or at work at 8 a.m. are all really ahead of you in line,” Graham said.
This explains how 1,286 leftover big game licenses were sold in the first five minutes on July 17, but of these, the vast majority, or 1,208 of these licenses were sold online. Only 78 of the license were picked up in the first five minutes by people who were in line at Game and Fish offices and license agents.
“This is the third year that leftover big game licenses were available for sale online and we are seeing that this has become the preferred method to obtain the licenses for the highly sought after areas,” said Graham.
“Nonresidents, typically not having the option to buy a license in person, buy their licenses online as is evidenced by the fact that 97 percent of nonresident licenses sold during the first hour on July 10 and 17 were purchased online.“
Graham said residents also have embraced the online license sales. “Even with the option to show up at a Game and Fish office or license selling agent, residents are more often choosing to buy their licenses online,” Graham said. “In 2011, the first year leftover licenses were available online, 58 percent of resident licenses sold during the first hour of sales were purchased online. In 2012, that number rose to 66 percent, and 71 percent of resident licenses sold during the first hour on July 10 and 17 this year were sold online.”
From comments received by hunters, offering leftover big game licenses online has also made the sale of leftover licenses much smoother and less frustrating.
“No one is ever happy to find out that area he or she wanted is sold out, but think of how frustrating it was a few years ago to stand in a line on the sidewalk for several hours, finally get to the front of the line, and learn that the area you wanted was sold out,” Graham said. “Now, anyone can know within seconds if an area is still open or what other options are available.”
Even with the flurry of license buying activity there are a number of areas that still have licenses remaining. For deer and antelope, most of those licenses are on private land areas and hunters are advised to secure a place to hunt before obtaining a license. Some of the reduced price cow/calf elk licenses are for private land areas, but a number are available on national forest lands. A complete listing of areas with leftover licenses and application information is available on the Game and Fish website http://wgfd.wyo.gov.
(Contact: Al Langston, 307-777-4540)