If you typically buy a Louisiana hunting or fishing license each spring at a retail location, you probably need to make your purchase sooner rather than later this year.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be working with a new vendor for all of its license sales — so retail locations statewide will not be selling hunting or fishing licenses from Feb. 1 to April 1 during the transition.

“There’s a little bit of a transition process from one vendor to the other,” said Rene LeBreton, public information director with the LDWF. “The online transition is not so difficult, but in terms of our retail vendors, they’ve got to change out the equipment they use and train the staff a bit, so there’s a training and transition period for the retailers that will take a little longer.”

From Feb. 1 through April 1, licenses will still be available for purchase online at www.wlf.la.gov, as well as at LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge, and regional offices in Monroe, Opelousas, Lake Charles and Alexandria.

“Roughly 60 percent of our licenses are purchased through retailers — that’s a ballpark number — so a lot of people still do it that way,” LeBreton said. “So we chose the historically low license sales period to make this transition.”

In addition, all license sales will be temporarily suspended Jan. 30 -31 while the system is down for maintenance.

The bottom line is if you want to purchase your license from a retailer for use later in the spring, the department suggests you buy it before Jan. 30.

“If you prefer to only buy at a retailer, we’d rather you do it before Jan. 30,” LeBreton said. “Otherwise, you’ll have to do it at our office or online, which isn’t really that difficult, but some people are averse to the Internet thing.”

The new system will provide some options for hunters and fishermen that don’t currently exist, he said.

“There will be a few more bells and whistles coming. I think the experience will be a little better online — navigating and selecting your license sounds like it will be a little more user-friendly,” LeBreton said. “And  you’ll have the ability to create a login if you want to - you don’t have to - which will allow you to track your license history, store your licenses, reprint a license if you need to, and eventually tie that to your boat registrations with us, as well as hunter ed licenses —  so it can all be tied together into one system.”

An auto-renew option also will be available in the future for customers who don’t want to have to worry about remembering to buy their licenses every year, he said. 

If you need assistance with your online purchase, contact the 24-hour help desk beginning on Feb. 2 at 888-362-5393.  If you have other licensing questions, call the LDWF license office at 225-765-2887 or 225-765-2898 during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Monday through Friday.