Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Guide License Application Wars

I know I shouldn't be but it never ceases to amaze how complicated (at least for my worn out brain) it has become to re-apply each spring for a Montana Fishing Guide License. For what seems to me should be a simple, straight-forward process--fill in the blanks, sign the check, get the license--each time around it seems the powers that be feel some need to re-invent the wheel.

The Guide application used to be a single page has now morphed into 5 pages, mostly redundant stuff mostly having to do with swearing you are indeed not on anyone's Ten Most Wanted Lists and that you indeed did hire out your services to a multitude of outfitters and that you do indeed actually know how to fish and...well hell, that this might be you 32nd consecutive year holding said license doesn't mean squat.

Then there's the Independent Contractor's License Ap which once consisted of duly swearing before a notary that you are indeed self-employed, will NOT attempt to collect unemployment compensation and WILL take care of your own taxes...$17 please, KA-CHING, end of story. NOW, however, you must prove up--provide documentation enough to accumulate a number of points (in our case 15) which in my case is certifiable proof of paying said taxes, list of "tools" (drift boat, boat rods, life vests, flies, net, etc. etc.) in sufficient quantity and value to satisfy some unknown lacky who in all probability wouldn't know a drift boat from a bath tub and proof of proper licensing. OK no really big deal but the process once so simple and straightforward and cheap recall $17 now runs $125...no surprise there, eh?

And then of course you need to join FOAM (Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana) to get a decent rate on your insurance--which this time around is actually 50 bucks LESS than last year--I know hard to imagine but true...

So you say what's the point old man? Heck, I don't know just seems way too complex just to row a boat down the river, tie on a few flies, net a trout every now and then...besides it's been a long boring winter...

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