West Virginia’s hunters and anglers now have a couple of new hunting- and fishing-license options to choose from.
In a Wednesday announcement, Gov. Jim Justice and Division of Natural Resources director Steve McDaniel announced the creation of a new “super sportsman” license, plus an opportunity to purchase sportsman licenses that are good for three years instead of one.
The changes appear to have been in response to a 2019 survey conducted by Southwick Associates, a Florida-based research firm. The survey revealed strong support for a hunting- and fishing license that would include a trout stamp, and equally strong support for a multi-year license option.
The new licenses became available Dec. 1.
Alterations to the state’s license structure usually require legislative approval, but administration officials were able to make the changes because they bundled licenses together and didn’t change prices or privileges.
Sportsman licenses will now come in several flavors.
The traditional $35 Class X (sportsman) license will still be available, as will the traditional $16 Class XJ (junior sportsman) license. The new offerings include a Class XP super sportsman license, which costs $45 and includes a trout stamp; a Class X3, which costs $105, does not include a trout stamp and is good for three years; and a Class XP3, which costs $145, includes a trout stamp and is good for three years.
In his presentation to the DNR, Southwick CEO Rob Southwick recommended agency officials not offer discounts for multi-year licenses.
“No discounts or incentives are necessary [because hunters and anglers will have fewer] transaction fees, and they’ll have the increased convenience of buying their licenses only once every three years,” Southwick said.
Southwick said the three-year option will reduce the churn rate among license buyers. Churn occurs when hunters and anglers purchase license one year and fail to renew them the following year.
He also said the multi-year option might actually boost participation in hunting and angling because sportsmen would want to reap the full benefit of their three-year investment.
To help kick off the new licenses, Justice and McDaniel announced that any West Virginian who purchases a 2021 Class X, XJ, XP, X3 or XP3 license in the month of December will automatically be entered to win one of several prizes.
The prizes will include a free lifetime license (two will be given away), vacation getaways at a West Virginia state park (four will be given away), or Gold Rush-themed gift bags from the DNR (eight will be given away).
The new licenses can be purchased online at www.wvhunt.com and at retail license agents throughout the state.