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Special to The Hesperian-Beacon
AUSTIN— In the latest change driven by the current public health situation, the Texas Outdoor Annual Hunting, Fishing and Boating Regulations will be going all-digital for the upcoming hunting and fishing license season, starting when licenses go on sale on Aug. 15.
Due to the economic impacts of the virus, the Outdoor Annual booklets will not be printed, but the 2020-2021 season regulations will be available online through OutdoorAnnual.com and the free Outdoor Annual mobile app.
“We are well aware that this change may be disappointing to some of our long-time outdoorsmen and women that have become accustomed to bringing the Outdoor Annual booklets on their hunting and fishing trips. Be assured, it is not going away and will still be accessible via the web and our special Outdoor Annual Mobile app,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We are doing everything we can to ensure hunters, anglers and boaters are aware of this change and utilize the benefits of the digital Outdoor Annual during the upcoming seasons.”
Texas Monthly, long-time publisher of the Texas Outdoor Annual, made it possible for TPWD to provide regulations booklets and a mobile app. In recent years, an increasing number of hunters and anglers have turned to the website and mobile app to get the most up-to-date information about regulations, including any changes in chronic wasting disease zones. Last year alone, more than 2.8 million users visited the Outdoor Annual website to access current regulations, significantly more than the 2.3 million printed copies distributed during the same time.
“Texas Monthly has enjoyed a decades-long public-private partnership with TPWD which made it possible for the Texas Outdoor Annual print and digital versions to be produced using revenue from sponsors and advertisers,” said Scott Brown, president of Texas Monthly. “2020 has presented our partnership and the world with a host of new challenges connected to COVID-19.
Our shared goal is that hunters, anglers and boaters will find the Outdoor Annual website and the significantly enhanced mobile app to be user-friendly ways to get the most up-to-date information and, on the mobile app, to access the regulations without needing internet connectivity.”
The Outdoor Annual mobile app provides interactive features not found in print, including the ability to view regulations offline and in remote locations, and to carry a digital copy of one’s license. Additional app features include location-based functionality such as “Seasons and Regulations by Current Location,” “Where to Fish,” “Game and Fish Identification,” “Finding a Nearby License Retailer” and push notifications with useful information.
Hunters and anglers also have the ability to print copies of relevant portions of the Outdoor Annual before heading to the field. All hunting, fishing and boating regulations can be found in the online version of the Outdoor Annual.
The Outdoor Annual website and mobile app currently show the 2019-2020 regulations in effect through Aug. 31, 2020. The mobile app is available for download at www.outdoorannual.com/app and will be automatically updated Aug. 15 with the new 2020-2021 regulations that go into effect on Sept. 1, 2020. The 2020-2021 hunting season dates can now be found on the Outdoor Annual website for hunters ready to start planning next season’s hunting trips.