Recent legislation requires the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to collect a customer's Social Security number (SSN) as part of an application for a non-commercial game and fish license. This legislation was passed to meet the Federal requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. This Federal requirement is to assist states in enforcement of child support programs.
Therefore, all deer hunters regardless of age must provide their SSN if the number is not on their DNR customer file. If a customer has a SSN, but fails to provide it or know it, they will be denied a hunting license. "The SSN is required of all hunting and fishing license customers regardless of age," said Tom Keefe, ELS Program Manager.
Keefe indicated the DNR is particularly concerned about young hunters (age 12-15) who want to purchase a deer license, but they (along with their parents) may not recall their SSN.
"Current sales figures indicate only about 10% of our customer's age 12-15 have bought their deer license," said Keefe, "leaving 90% or over 40,000 young customers to purchase a license within less then two weeks. We could see a number of disappointed young hunters come deer opener if they don't remember their SSN."
The DNR has updated the majority of its resident customers records with a SSN from the Minnesota driver's license files. The SSN requirement is also needed for driver's license applications and renewals, noted Keefe.
The Department understands customers will have concerns with this requirement and has taken several steps to reduce customer concerns and still meet the federal requirements for collection of the customer's SNN. These include: SSN will not be printed on any license material, the SSN information will be held in a secure with database with very limited access, and collection of the SSN is required only once.
Residents of the United States who have not had a SSN issued to them must complete a certification form prior to purchasing a license. These customers may contact the DNR for further information on this certification form.
Finally, Keefe encouraged all hunters to purchase deer licenses now and not wait until the last minute because they could face potential problems and long lines of customers.