Digital Vs. Paper Fishing License: What Is The Difference?

Starting in 2022, Texas now has two license options available for fishermen and hunters. You can purchase the traditional printed/paper license, or you can purchase the new digital-only Super Combo license. At the moment, the resident Super Combo license packages appear to be the only license packages that are available in both the printed/paper license format and the new digital license format. The many other options for Texas fishing and hunting licenses are only available in the standard paper format this year.

Texas redfish With Captain Justin

What is a Super Combo License

The Super Combo is a very popular license choice for Texas outdoors enthusiasts because it includes both the hunting and fishing permissions needed to pursue the most popular game species throughout the state. For example, the Texas Super Combo package includes the following:

Texas resident fishing license

Texas resident hunting license

Fresh & saltwater fishing endorsements

Upland & migratory bird endorsements

You will still need to purchase and carry a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt waterfowl such as ducks and geese because that is a federal requirement sold separately from any Texas license packages. For 2022, the Super Combo license is sold for $68, which represents a significant discount over the cost of purchasing each type of license and endorsement separately. Both the digital and paper versions of the Super Combo license grant privileges to the same hunting and fishing opportunities at the same price, but there are a few differences between the new digital option and regular paper license that you should know.

New Digital Only Super Combo License

The Digital Super Combo license is only available through online license purchases here. As with a traditional paper license, you will still need to make sure that you have your license accessible while you are fishing or hunting. That means that you need to carry your cell phone and make sure it is charged. If you get a digital license, then you will not receive a printed paper license in the mail. You do not get both types of licenses: you must choose which type of license you want when you make your license purchase. With the Digital Super Combo, you need to have the apps necessary to display your license. There are two apps that you need to know:

(1) Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual app (2) My Texas Hunt Harvest app.

Once you install these apps on your phone, make sure that you connect your new digital license purchase to these apps. Connecting your license to the apps is usually done by entering your customer number or transaction number shown when you purchased your license and your name. After that, your license will now appear in both the TPWD Outdoor Annual app and the My Texas Hunt Harvest app. These apps have a View My Licenses link on the home page, and that is where you connect and view your licenses. The View My Licenses section for these apps even shows your license purchase history for prior years.

The apps should display your license information whether or not you are within cell phone range. If a Game Warden asks to see your license, then you should be able to show him or her your Digital Super Combo license using your phone and either of the apps listed above. Tagging an oversized redfish, deer, or turkey is different with the new digital Super Combo License. With the digital license, you will be digital tagging your harvest. To tag your deer, turkey or oversized red, use the My Texas Hunt Harvest (MTHH) app. You should use the MTHH app to record your catch or harvest immediately. For complete details on digitally tagging an oversized redfish, please read our article on how to digitally tag an oversized red drum. Interestingly, there is no need to attach any documents when digitally tagging an oversized red drum, but you must attach a handwritten document to your harvest of deer and turkey.

Paper or Printed Super Combo License

Of course, you do not need to select the new digital license format if you purchase a Super Combo License package. You can stick with the traditional paper or printed license that has been available in Texas for years. You are not required to use the TPWD Outdoor Annual app or the My Texas Hunt Harvest app with a paper license, but these apps are still worth a look. The TPWD Outdoor Annual app includes valuable information such as lengths, limits and pictures for game fish in both fresh and saltwater. With the My Texas Hunt Harvest app, you can still connect your license and report your harvest. This electronic harvest reporting is part of a growing movement of citizen scientists who report data to help better manage game populations for the future. For owners of the paper or printed Super Combo license, voluntarily reporting your harvest with the My Texas Hunt Harvest app does NOT eliminate the requirement for physically tagging oversized red drum, deer and turkey with the paper tags on the license.

The paper license comes with the printed tags physically attached at the edges of your license. For paper Super Combo license holders, the procedure for tagging an oversized redfish, deer, or turkey has not changed. For example, after catching an oversized redfish you should locate your oversized red drum tag along the edge of the license. Remove the oversized red drum tag, fill out the necessary information on the tag, and physically attach the completed paper tag to the redfish around the narrowest part of the fish’s tail. Detailed instructions can be found at the TPWD website.

Summary of Key Differences between Paper and Digital Licenses

Whether you are using the paper Super Combo license or the new Digital Super Combo license, Captain Experiences can help you book a guide for your next adventure. Visit us at captainexperiences.com to learn more about fishing and hunting opportunities that are available in Texas and beyond. Here are the highlights of the key differences between digital and paper Super Combo package license formats available in Texas.

TPWD License Table

The new digital only Super Combo license is the wave of the future. Almost everyone carries a phone these days, and the two apps by TPWD are both easy to use and contain valuable information. Contributing your fishing and hunting data for use in better managing our natural resources should be a benefit to all anglers and hunters in the future. Fishing and hunting are excellent throughout Texas, and the Super Combo license (both digital and paper) offers an amazing value for resident outdoor enthusiasts who like to do it all.