LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission completed a major revision to its long-standing mobile app last week to catch up with recent changes to the AGFC’s licensing and checking procedures.
Location-based weather and forecasts and a hunting area locator feature help hunters find likely places to pursue their game, while updated sections on wildlife observation, hiking and water trails offer a richer outdoor experience for app users seeking adventure. Feeds for the AGFC’s waterfowl report, fishing report and latest news also are available at the press of a button, so people can stay up to date with the AGFC from any location.
“We’ve had many of these components available in various places on our website, licensing site and old app, but the new upgrade brings it all together for easier access,” Griffith said. “And we’ve included a few new features to help hunters with some of the new systems in place like digital licenses and checking.”
Since March of 2018, Arkansas hunters and anglers could carry a digital copy of their hunting and fishing licenses via phone, but it required a photo of the license on the phone or an emailed document saved to the phone’s files. With the latest app revision, all of a person’s license information is available underneath the heading “Licenses” at the bottom of the phone’s screen. Once a person has created an account on the app and logged in using the customer ID number on their license, the app will store the information to the phone, so it will be available whether the user has a phone signal or not.
“Nearly everyone carries their phone with them in the woods nowadays, even if it’s only for safety,” said Spencer Griffith, marketing coordinator for the AGFC. “This way you always have your license with you. You even have a portal to buy your license through the app in case you don’t have time to go to a sporting goods store before the hunt.”
Buying a hunting or fishing license online has been available for more than a decade, but some hunters still may forget about it as an option, leaving many people waiting for a license dealer to open instead of being in the stand when that deer of a lifetime comes out. The upgraded app makes it easy to locate the pages on agfc.com where users may purchase a hunting license securely, then stores that information to the phone within seconds.
Checking harvested deer also is available through the app, even if the hunter does not have a cell signal. By law, a hunter must check his or her deer within 24 hours of harvest, and must have a tag identifying their name, license number and the time and date of harvest until the animal is checked. As long as the animal stays within immediate access by the hunter, they can check the deer online, by phone or through the app and forgo the tagging process entirely.
“You can do this regardless of the app, but if you don’t have cell service to make the call or lookup the website, you still have to make your own tag until you can call in or check it online,” Griffith said. “If you have the app, it will store the check and automatically push it to our servers as soon as you’re in cell service, so there’s no need for that tag.”
One thing new app users may notice missing from the new app is the data and images stored in the “Trophy Room” feature. However, these images are not lost forever. With the old app, those images were stored on the user’s phone, so there is no way to transfer them to the new app, but they should still exist in the phone’s photo library files.
“You can still find those images on the phone and manually re-enter them to the new app’s trophy room,” Griffith said.
Hunters who have already checked deer using the old app this season may not see their deer from earlier this year show up for a day or two until the database from the old system syncs with the new system, but all records of checked deer are intact and able to be looked up by AGFC officers while information is transferred.
The app is available in Apple’s iTunes Store as well as Android stores. It works with most smartphones, however some phones that have not had operating system updates for an extensive amount of time may experience difficulties loading the new app.