Pennsylvania anglers will have a new way to buy fishing licenses next year.
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission signed a new licensing services contract that will deliver a benefit long sought by the agency – the ability for anglers to easily purchase fishing licenses from their smartphones and retain the license images on their devices to use as a proof of purchase.
PFBC Executive Director John Arway has been seeking a more modern, mobile friendly customer sales platform for years, and one that would also help bolster sales by enabling marketing staff to segment customer data and develop targeted messages to specific groups.
“We collect a lot of customer data that we’d love to use in our marketing efforts, but haven’t had the capabilities until now,” Arway said. “The new licensing service will provide a host of visual analytical tools, allowing us to see in real time key metrics like buying patterns or sales by age group and gender. We can then use the information to tailor specific messages to these customer groups and improve our sales.”
“For example, say that metrics show that most women purchase their licenses over weekends. Marketing emails and social media posts could be scheduled during that time only, likely increasing sales opportunities.”
Nashville-based Sovereign Sportsman Solutions (S3) was awarded the 10-year contract and provided a demonstration of the system to the board of Fish and Boat commissioners during their quarterly business meeting. The transition to the new system is expected to take about a year to implement according to the agency.
The PFBC also announced at its quarterly business meeting that it has scheduled a series of Sportsmen’s Forums across the state to solicit opinions from anglers and boaters on how the agency can best conserve aquatic resources while creating more opportunities for fishing and boating recreation.
The forums will feature an overview of the agency’s existing programs and a discussion of its current financial state of affairs. A question and answer period will follow:
“Declining fishing license sales and boat registration fees coupled with increasing costs make it necessary to take a fresh look at redesigning the agency’s strategic plan,” said Executive Director John Arway. “The information learned will be used to help form a new agency strategic plan to meet the expectations of anglers and boaters.”
The forums are titled “A Sportsmen’s Forum – How Resource First and Anglers and Boaters Can Help Shape the Future of Fishing and Boating in Pennsylvania” and will be held at the following locations.
·Feb. 3 (10 a.m.) - Great American Outdoor Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg (Seminar Room 1)
·Feb. 17 (10 a.m.) - Allegheny Outdoor, Sport & Travel Show, Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville (Stage 2)
·Feb. 24 (4 p.m.) - Fly-Fishing & Wing Shooting Expo, Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony (Striped Bass Room)
·March 3 (10 a.m.) - Erie Sport & Travel Expo, Bayfront Convention Center, Erie (Room 140 ABC)
·March 10 (10 a.m.) - Greater Philadelphia Boat Show, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks
·March 17 (10 a.m.) - Lycoming College, Williamsport (Heim Building, Room G-11)
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has also announced that they partnered with “The Rest of PA,” a consortia of local tourism entities, and with Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg to sponsor a unique giveaway during the winter months when many anglers are either getting ready for the upcoming fishing seasons or visiting sports and outdoors shows and making plans to get out and enjoy the outdoors more in the New Year.
The grand prize in this giveaway is a two-day getaway package at a venue in the winner’s choice of locations. Four tourism entities in the heart of Pennsylvania are sponsoring the grand prize - Visit Potter-Tioga; Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau; Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau; and the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.
The getaway package includes accommodations for up to four people including lodging, meals and exposure to local fishing. The winner can enjoy the trip at any time June 1, 2018, thru October 31, 2018.
A second winner will receive the first prize, an Ascend FS10 Sit-in Fishing kayak donated by Bass Pro Shops. This sit-in model is ideal to target a variety of species on Commonwealth waters.
The public can enter this giveaway by visiting www.GoneFishingPA.com through March 12, or by entering in person at the PFBC booth/table at one of the 14 following events:
* Jan. 6-13 - Pennsylvania Farm Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg
* Jan. 12-14 and Jan. 19-21 - Pittsburgh Boat Show, Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville
* Jan. 25-28 - Early Bird Sportsman Expo, Bloomsburg Fair Grounds, Bloomsburg
* Jan. 26-28 - Pittsburgh Outdoor Expo, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh
* Jan. 26-28 - Fly Fishing Show, New Jersey Convention & Expo Center, Edison, N.J.
* Feb. 2-4 - Washington County Sport Show, Washington Crown Center, Washington, Pa.
* Feb. 3-11 - Great American Outdoor Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg
* Feb. 16-18 - Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show, Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville
* Feb. 17-18 - Valley Outdoors Cabin Fever Expo, Mifflinburg Intermediate School, Mifflinburg
* Feb. 24-25 - Fly Fishing & Wing Shooting Expo, Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony
* March 2-4 - Erie Sport and Travel Expo, Bayfront Convention Center, Erie
* March 3-4 - Fly Fishing Show, Lancaster County Convention Center, Lancaster
* March 9-11 - Greater Philadelphia Boat Show, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks
* March 10-11 - Western PA Muskie Max Plus, Embassy Suites by Pittsburgh International Airport, Coraopolis
“This is an opportunity for us to invite people to come and visit us at sports and outdoor shows this winter,” said Steve Kralik, PFBC Director of Outreach, Education and Marketing. “It also gives us a chance to speak with people and promote the good fishing and boating opportunities available here in the Commonwealth.”
“We particularly want to thank the sponsors for donating the prizes,” he added. “Several lucky winners are going to be exposed to some of the best fishing and accommodations to be shared with family and friends that the Commonwealth has to offer.”
The winners will be notified after April 10. A date, time and location for the winner to pick up the kayak will be determined in the weeks after the winner is notified. No purchase is required and only one entry per qualifying adult will be accepted.
2016 BOATING ACCIDENTS REPORT
The PFBC recently issued on their Boating Accident Analysis & Fatality Summary. It is as follows:
From January 1 to December 31, 2016 there were 70 reportable boating accidents resulting in 42 injuries requiring medical treatment. The most common type of accident was Collision with fixed object (12) followed closely by Skier mishap (9) and Falls overboard (9). Property damage amounted to $202,006 which was $110,513 more than the amount reported in 2015.
One accident comprised $40,000 or 20% of that total. There were 11 recreational boating fatalities in the calendar year 2016. Three of the victims were wearing a life jacket at the time of the mishap that resulted in death. Seven of the 11 victims (64%) were not wearing a life jacket but did have them onboard the boat.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.