All hunters, including those under 16, will need to have a free, AGFC-issued Customer Identification Number to check big game or participate in permit drawings beginning this season.
The CID is automatically assigned when a person purchases any product through the AGFC’s license system for the first time. This unique number follows the hunter or angler throughout their life, so the AGFC can track their license purchases, permit applications, checked game and other important hunting and fishing information. Even though hunters under 16 are not required to have a hunting or fishing license in Arkansas, they will need this customer identification number to check game and apply for permit hunts.
Simply go to agfc.com, click “Buy a Licenses/Check Game” in the top right corner of the website and fill out the youth hunter’s information. They will need to submit their Social Security number if they have been assigned one; otherwise, they can choose the “exempt” option for that portion of their information. All information is kept confidential and is required by the federal government as part of the licensing process.
Once their profile is complete, youth hunters may choose the Youth Customer Identification Number (license code YCID) option in the licensing system, which has no fee. After completing the transaction, youth will have a Customer ID assigned to them that may be used to check big game or used in future permit draw applications.
The change is part of the AGFC’s continued effort to better serve hunters and anglers, track individual hunter progress and obtain more accurate harvest information.
In years past, deer harvested by a youth hunter would be checked under their mentor’s hunting license number. This caused concerns on many fronts.
“One issue we had was when people would later need to request their deer check confirmation to leave the deer at a processor or taxidermist,” Mark Hutchings, assistant chief of wildlife management for the AGFC, said. “The deer would be checked in under their mentor, but pulling up the data would be difficult if the mentor also had deer of their own checked.”
Hutchings also said in some rare occasions, a mentor would not have a hunting license, so there was no way for the youth hunter to check the deer without the mentor going through to create an account.
“With one CID number that the youth will have for the rest of their life, we can not only look up that season’s checked game quickly, but we can look back at previous years if requested,” Hutchings said.
When hunters purchase their first license at 16, they would receive a CID, so the new requirement is simply speeding up that process.
A single CID throughout a hunter’s lifetime also will help resolve past issues with permit draw hunts administered by the AGFC for deer and turkey. Preference points for these big game animals were eliminated in part because of issues from multiple user IDs in the AGFC’s permit system.
“You could use your social security number or driver’s license number in addition to your name and birthday to enter permit draws,” Brad Carner, AGFC chief of wildlife management, said. “But some people would use one thing one year, then another form of ID the next, creating multiple accounts. Instead of one person having two or three preference points towards a drawn permit after a few years, they would have two or three accounts, each with one preference point. This, in addition to people manipulating the preference point system through group hunts, led to us having to do away with the point system altogether.”
Carner says he’d like to return to a preference point system for many hunting permit draws, and the singular CID will go a long way in making that possible.
“Many youth hunters who applied for youth hunts on our wildlife management areas in the last few years had to set up a profile to do so,” Carner said. “They already have an account and CID and won’t have to do anything new. We still had many people check their youth’s deer to their license, so they will need to go through the steps to create a CID for their child this year,” Carner said.
Customer Identification Numbers also will enable the AGFC to streamline some of its recruitment and retention efforts to see if some programs have more effect in bringing new people into the fold.
Carner says the use of one user profile will enable the AGFC to send reminders to hunters when it is time to apply for permit hunts and enable better communication between the agency and the state’s hunters.
“Many other states require youths to have a license to hunt, but we’re not looking to charge any money to our youth hunters,” Carner said. “This CID will just help us keep records streamlined and better serve the hunters of Arkansas.”
Visit www.agfc.com and click the “Buy Licenses/Check Game” tab at the top of the page to get your youth hunter’s CID.