The Fishing License That Got Away

An unexpected chemical reaction is causing 2008 Oregon Hunting and Fishing Licenses to vanish.

Like, disappear. No fooling.

As part of a new license design implemented by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Department, the 2008 license is printed on a high-tech synthetic material intended to resist water and wear.

That’s a good thing.

On the downside, some of the 500,000 Oregon hunters and anglers who bought their 2008 thermo-paper combo license and placed it in the plastic holder issued at the time of purchase found that the writing on the paper, uh, disappeared in a few weeks.

Poof! Like magic, a vanishing license!

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Imagine how sportsmen reacted when they removed their license from its holder and discovered a blank piece of paper—or, in some cases, a license that was considerably faded to the point of being illegible.

“I’m not a chemist,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Doug Juergensen, “but the new paper somehow reacts to plastic.”

Addressing the problem as only a state agency can, ODFW issued a press release last month instructing license purchasers not to place the document in the plastic holders or to have them laminated.

In addition, the agency said it would provide fade-resistant Tyvek holders at all state license vendors beginning next week.

But what about the hunters and anglers who find themselves in possession of a fancy piece of blank, water-resistant paper?

They’ll have to pay $6.50 for a replacement license, says the ODFW.