For the first time, Pennsylvania anglers may now buy multi-year fishing licenses.
Instead of heading into a licensed issuing agent every year, fishermen can go once every three or five years.
That may be convenient for some fishermen, but it's not great in the eyes of those who sell the licenses.
Multi-year fishing licenses available
The issuing agent collects $1 for every license.
Another 70 cents charge per license goes toward maintaining the electronic files.
According to the Fish and Boat Commission, anglers who buy multi-year licenses only pay the issuing fee and the electronic fee on the first year. They save that $1.70 each subsequent year of the license - $3.40 savings on a three-year license and $6.80 over the life of a five-year license.
Adding a trout or combo permit to the multi-year license doubles the savings.
When the angler doesn't have to pay a $1 processing fee, the issuing agent loses out on that $1.
According to Clair Peterson, owner of Peterson Hardware of Sheffield, the company has to pay $100 a year for the right to sell fishing licenses. "You have to pay a bond in order to sell them," Peterson said. As multi-year licenses become more popular, the agent's revenue from the licenses will drop, making selling licenses less attractive.
However, agents are not counting on the $1 processing fee to balance their books.
"It's about bringing the traffic through the door," Gary Wert of Grizzly Gary Outdoors said.
"I could care less about the four dollars" lost over the life of a five-year license, he said. "I care about the traffic coming through the door. For three years or five years they don't have to come through the door."
People who go to the store to buy a license might need other gear. Or, they might see something they want and weren't aware the retailer carried.
"They buy hooks, they buy rods and reels," Wert said. "They say, 'I didn't know you carried trapping gear. I didn't know you carried ammunition.'"
"The way I see it, they're certainly not good for us folks. I just think it's a dumb idea," he said. "We certainly don't need the government taking profits away from us."
Agents who accept credit and debit card payments are probably going to lose even more. Wert said the negotiated fee he pays to accept credit cards would cost more on the purchase of a five-year resident fishing license with a five-year combo stamp than the $3 the processing fees bring in.
"I'm not putting the posters up," Wert said. "I'm not promoting it."
The Warren County Treasurer's Office is also a licensing agent, but Treasurer Denny Munksgard isn't too worried about the change. His customers aren't buying other equipment for their fishing outings when they come to the courthouse.
"We don't get second- and third-year revenue. We don't have to process the work," Munksgard said. "It should be a wash."