Talk about sticker shock . . . or whatever you want to call it, I got a bad case of it the other day and I’m still trying to get over it. I bought my deer hunting license or I should say two of them even though they were on the same piece of paper. I bought a buck license and a doe license or as they say now, “An antlered deer license and an antlerless deer license.” Since there have been cases of does with antlers turning up in Indiana, you can’t tell a doe with antlers from a buck. Last year each license was printed on a different piece of paper and they had a transportation tag attached. Last year each license cost $13.75 and I bought two as usual (one for antlered deer and one for anterless deer) for a total of $27.50.

Are you with me so far? This year I discovered each license now costs $24 ($48 for two) in any sporting goods store. Then I found out that I could get on the computer and order them right from the DNR and print them with my printer. This way it’s more convenient for the DNR and for me and it should be cheaper since they don’t have to rely on sporting goods stores to sell them and this will cut out the middle man expenses, right?

As Johnny Carson might say, “WRONG Buck Breath!” Besides costing double what they did last year, the DNR has added on a few extra dollars for computer convenience. Both licenses cost me $54 up $6 from the $48 first quoted AND I had to download them onto ordinary 20lb typewriter paper and then it took two days to figure out how to download the Deer Temporary Transportation Tags (I needed two) from the internet. A license is no good without the transportation tags.

I discovered a rule change – Temporary Transportation tags are not to be used in the field like last year; now you have to have them with you while you are dragging your deer out of the woods, THEN, you attach them to your deer while transporting it to a check-in station (within 24 hours).

Now that I have a thin paper deer license and two thin paper deer transportation tags, what happens if and when they get wet? You guessed it; they disintegrate naturally. Try to explain to a conservation officer how a sopping wet piece of paper could possibly be a deer hunting license or a temporary transportation tag. Come on DNR, wake up and smell the wet paper; there’s going to be a lot of deer hunters out there with wet, crud caked, schlucky deer (from being dragged through a woods or a pasture with cow poop/mud/wet leaves/etc).

Even though the tags don’t have to be put on until you drag the deer back to the car or truck, they will still be torn, wet, yucky, unreadable deer temporary transportation tags that were printed on 20lb typewriter paper, when you finally get the deer to a check-in station. And remember, they don’t have to be checked in for 24 hours after they are killed. How many of you deer hunters have transported deer in good weather? It’s usually in the back of an open truck during a rain or a snow storm; right? And after they’ve hung overnight outside? Hey DNR, give us a break; ok? You guys created this SNAFU or FUBAR, whichever you want to call it. (SNAFU means Situation Normal All Fowled Up – FUBAR means Fowled Up Beyond All Recognition.) So please come up with a solution already.

As for me, I remembered my dad’s advice; he said to always, “CYA” -Cover Your Ah-backside (You can’t say, “Ass,” in the paper). I signed my license on the bottom and then laminated it between two sheets of plastic (laminating kit purchased at Walgreen’s – add a few more dollars) so they would be waterproof. I did the same with my two deer temporary transportation tags. First I used a pen and filled out the part that said “before hunting” (check type – regular, bonus, or military license and then the season – Archery, extra archery, firearm, muzzleloader or bonus anterless, and then the box that said ‘resident’ and then I wrote down the online license number the DNR gave me. Next, I laminated both tags. Now all I have to do is notch the tag with my knife where it says, Sex – |Male|Female| and Date of kill – |Sep|Oct|Nov|Dec|Jan| – and |1| through |31|. Now I can be reasonably sure my 20lb typewriter paper license and tags will pull through the rigors of deer hunting/camping/dragging/transportation/hanging/water/mud/etc – IF I get a deer. You’d think that with all of this hassle, the DNR would either guarantee me a deer, knock off the extra $3 per license, or give me my money back, right? Forget it; just go along with the bureaucrats; but remember to always, “CYA”.

This is for all you Bambi lovers and anti-gun people – I’ve been told there are more deer killed by automobiles and trucks on the highways of Indiana in a year than are taken by all the bow & arrow, shotgun, pistol, muzzleloader, and crossbow deer hunters combined; only deer hunters pay $24 apiece for some 160,000 deer they take and you know they won’t go to waste laying on the highway. Now think of the hunters who buy a license and don’t kill anything (kill rate is about 10%). If 160,000 is 10%, then 90% would be 1,440,000. 1,440,000 plus 160,000 = 1,600,000 licenses times $24 each, equals a mind boggling figure going into the state’s coffers, so why is the Department of Natural Resources closing our campgrounds?