BY BRANDON BUTLER
The money that athletes spend on hunting and fishing licenses is a major contributor to funding conservation across the country. Today’s license fees are the foundation for tomorrow’s opportunities. If we hope to pass on our national commitment to conservation to future generations, then athletes must continue to lead the way. This means that the license fees should stay current over time. It’s rare to hear applause for fee increases, but sometimes they are necessary.
I praised my dad for his creative gift technique when he surprised me with my first shotgun. He hit him out of the park on that one. But he hit with the bases loaded with a point in the bottom of the ninth when he failed to buy me a lifetime license in Indiana before they stopped selling them. I’m pretty sure they were around $ 400 in the early ’90s which seemed like a lot back then. They left when I was about 12 years old. These licenses were all-inclusive, covering deer and turkey tags, as well as general fishing and hunting privileges. A real good deal.
The reason they left is because the Indiana DNR knew they would end up underfunded if these licenses saturated the market. So now when I come home to hunt I pay a heavy price and it goes up. And I agree with that. I just told you that I wish I had a license for life, but I don’t have one. So I pay the license fee and accept the cost if necessary. It feels good to do your part.
According to a press release from the Indiana DNR, “For the first time since 2006, the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) of the Indiana DNR has increased the fees for hunting, fishing and fishing licenses. and trapping. The new fees allow DFW to maintain core programs, including habitat restoration, maintenance of public lands, scientific research and education, and the expansion of other services to manage fish and fish. Indiana wildlife for everyone to enjoy. The funds will also go to the Law Enforcement Division of MNR to ensure it is equipped to provide public safety and enforce laws governing natural resources. The new license prices were determined by comparing license fees among other Midwestern states and balancing the increasing costs of resource management. “
I think that’s an honest and reasonable explanation for the fee increases. So now for me to go back to Indiana and fish, my non-resident fishing license will cost $ 60 instead of $ 35. To kill a deer, the permit now costs $ 240 instead of $ 150. To me, this is money well spent. When I think of the joy I have had hunting deer in Indiana since I was young, I realize that giving it away by contributing financially to conservation while having the privilege of hunting is to money well spent. These fee increases will help ensure future and healthy populations of fish and game.
Federal conservation money comes mainly from two sources, Pittman-Robertson and Dingell Johnson. The Pittman-Robertson Act was established in 1937 to fund wildlife conservation through a tax on hunting and shooting equipment. The success of this funding model was used to pass the similar Dingell-Johnson Act in 1950, which supported sport fishing. Both of these laws have supported state conservation for over half a century, but now is the time to dramatically increase funding for conservation across the country.
Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson put the responsibility of funding conservation on the shoulders of sportsmen and recreational shooters. As an athlete myself, I am proud to pay these taxes and help fund conservation. However, athletes cannot be responsible for funding the future of conservation on their own. We need the financial support of all outdoor enthusiasts.
As I said earlier, not many people are celebrating the increase in fishing and hunting fees, but at the state level, these are the dollars raised to ensure a bright future. If you are considering not only acquiring the privilege of fishing or hunting, but also investing in the future of fish and game, then I hope you are proud of the contribution you are making. Because you should. I just hope the non-hunters and non-fishermen understand the importance of sportsmen in funding healthy habitat for all creatures.
See you soon on the track …