Because I'm both a landowner and a tennant, I am qualified for a special permit that pertains to these groups. I can get a tag for 1st & 2nd season shotgun for $2, and another $2 for the January high power antlerless season. That's $4. A resident non-landowner pays $27 for the 1st season shotgun deer tag, another $27 for 2nd season shotgun, $27 for January antlerless high power, $8.50 for a habitat fee, and $17.50 for the regular hunting fee, for a total of $107. So, its a pretty good deal.
However, because of either real or perceived abuses of the system, this year the DNR required those who in the past received landowner/tennant permits to fill out paperwork certifying that, under penalty of purgery, they were indeed landowners or tennants. To make sure you really knew your land, they required that you write down the tax parcel number of a piece of land you either owned or rented. This could be obtained from the Iowa County Treasurers Association's website. That means just about anyone could look up a parcel of land and claim they rent or own it and thus save $103 in license fees.
When I filled out the paperwork and sent it back to Des Moines in September, I expected that I could go into any place that sold licenses and be able to get my deer tags with no problem. However, upon attempting to do so earlier this week, I found that I was not in the system for which I spent time filing the paperwork. So, I came home from the courthouse, went online to the DNR's website, and registered, including my tax parcel ID number (Dad's farm). I then went back to the courthouse, reported my finding, and gave them a copy of my registration just in case. The worker at the recorder's office said this kind of incident had been happening for the last several days as landowners/tennants streamed in to get their tags, thinking the paperwork they had filled out would be processed, only to find they had to deal with registering on-line (something not all Wayne Co landowners/tennants are savvy with).
My guess is there is a stack of papers somewhere in Des Moines collecting dust until some minimum wage temp gets done entering them in the system at 40 words per minute. Meanwhile, dear season is upon us.
Another new stipulation of the DNR is that when a deer is killed, it must now be registered with the DNR within 24 hours of the kill. On each tag there is a code that one must call in via a toll free number. The system will then provide a confirmation number that must be written on the tag (now on the leg of a dead deer, by the way) so the DNR, if they desire, can check to make sure the deer's death was properly reported. Like it will go in some mass obituary or something...
My cousin Chris, a member of our hunting party, scored a kill on a 2 pt buck today, and thus attempted to navigate the DNR's phone system to register his deer. While he was able to get into the system, it replied to him that his entries were not valid, and then hung up on him, even though he was doing everything the friendly voice on the other end told him to. Brilliant.
So, there you have it - government bureaucracy invades the timbers and fields of The South of Iowa and brings with it a unique form of control and inefficiency. Now all we need is a DNR officer driving 1/2 mile back into our property to see if we have our tags in order...something a private citizen would call trespassing but they call "doing their job".
The scariest thing you can say to a DNR officer is "Does anyone know you're out here?"