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Beginning with the 2024-2025 hunting license year, DEC is transitioning from special license stock (Valeron) to plain paper licenses and tags.

Q: When will the change to printing licenses and tags on plain paper occur?

A: The change to printing licenses and tags on plain printing paper will occur between July 22, 2024, and August 1, 2024. 

WHY:  DEC, like other state conservation agencies around the country, has experienced difficulties acquiring Valeron stock due to supply chain issues and increased costs. Over the last few years, many states such as Ohio, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Virginia have successfully shifted to plain paper and digital licenses and tags, providing a good framework to guide our transition. Additionally, using plain paper rather than Valeron reduces the agency’s carbon footprint and modernizes the way sporting licenses are fulfilled and utilized afield. This transition will allow easier and quicker access to recreational activities as hunters, trappers, and anglers will be able to print their licenses and tags at home. 

Q: If the new tags are plain paper and not weather resistant, won’t they get damaged when afield hunting?    

A: It is the hunter’s responsibility to protect their license and tags. Carcass tags must still be filled out, dated, signed, and attached to the animal as required by regulation. DEC suggests storing licenses and tags in a waterproof bag or container while hunting and placing the completed carcass tag in a zip-top bag or other reusable waterproof protector and securely fastening it to the deer, bear, or turkey to ensure the tag remains protected and legible. Tags do not have to be attached to the carcass while it is being dragged or physically carried from the field but must be attached as soon as it is taken to a home, camp, or point where transportation is available. DEC will be producing videos to help show hunters how they can tag their harvest as well as protect their carcass tags and license. Once these videos are complete, they can be viewed on the NYSDEC YouTube page as well as on the DEC website

 Q: What should hunters, trappers, or anglers do if they lose their license or tags or if the paper gets destroyed? 

A: Hunters, trappers, and anglers may obtain plain paper replacements of their licenses and tags from an in-person license sales agent, though replacement fees will apply. Alternatively, they may reprint the licenses and tags from their online account or from the PDF included in the email associated with their original license purchase. Also, hunters, trappers, and anglers may use the HuntFishNY app as an electronic copy of their license. Anglers may also provide their 12-digit DEC ID number.

Q: What can hunters, trappers, and anglers show to an Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) as a proof of licensure when afield?   

A: Hunters and trappers will have the option of carrying a plain paper copy of their license, or an electronic copy of their license in the free HuntFishNY mobile app. In addition to the paper copy of their license and the electronic license in the HuntFishNY app, anglers can also provide an officer with their 12-digit, DEC ID number. For the 2024-25 license year, the only option for carcass tags is plain paper.

Q: Will there still be a fee for replacing licenses and carcass tags?

A: Yes. If someone comes to a LIA to replace their licenses and/or carcass tags outside the DEC designated free lifetime replacement period or when a free replacement is allowed, replacement fees will still apply. Replacements should be processed in a separate transaction and will still cost $5 for licenses, privileges, and permits, while replacement for carcass tags will cost $10. Customers can avoid replacement fees by reprinting at home from their DECALS account or from the PDF documents that were emailed to them with their original purchase. More information on replacement fees can be found on DEC's General Sporting License Information webpage

Q: Will Lifetime Hunting License holders still receive their licenses and tags in the mail?   

A: Yes, lifetime license holders should receive their licenses and tags in the mail by September 1, 2024, printed on plain paper. Beginning in January of 2025, lifetime license holders will be able to call 1-(866)-933-2257 to arrange to have their lifetime license and tags emailed to them each year rather than delivered by mail. Once signed up for email delivery, lifetime license and tags will be emailed each year, allowing the license holder to retain an electronic copy of the license and to print tags at home. Lifetime license holders will also be able to sign up for email delivery as well as gaining complete access to their online profile by creating a username and password for their DECALS account.

Q:  Will backtags be printed on plain white paper?

A:  Yes, however, back-tags will be printed in grayscale, so will not appear white when displayed in a back-tag holder. In addition, licenses and tags can be printed on colored paper or hunters may use a highlighting marker to change the color of their back-tag. Back-tag numbers must still be legible.  Hunters should avoid using red or blue colored paper or markers.


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