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Dwindling Hunting & Fishing Licenses

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2008 at 16:41
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Dwindling hunting, fishing licenses send wildlife agencies looking for money

Associated Press
Mar. 29, 2008 12:42 PM

STOWE, Vt. - Bob Shannon is an avid hunter, a fishing guide and owns a tackle shop, but he sometimes struggles to get his own son out into Vermont's woods and fields.

"He'll be sitting there with the video games," Shannon said of 9-year-old Alexander. "I finally had to lay down the law last summer: If it's a nice day, you're outside.' "

Shannon's challenge reflects a larger problem plaguing many state governments: Revenue from hunting and fishing license sales is plunging because of waning interest in the outdoors.



"We're losing our rural culture," said Steve Wright, a regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation. "There are so many distractions, and we're not recruiting young people into hunting and fishing."

Sales of Vermont hunting and fishing licenses have dropped more than 20 percent over the last 20 years, leaving the Fish and Wildlife Department pleading with lawmakers for extra funding.

Other states report similar drop-offs:

-Arkansas hunting license sales dropped from about 345,000 in 1999 to about 319,000 in 2003.

-Pennsylvania sold about 946,000 hunting licenses in 2006, down from just over a million in 1999, and a peak of 1.3 million in 1981.

-Oregon had 100,000 fewer licensed anglers last year than in 1987, and 70,000 fewer licensed hunters.

-West Virginia sold 154,763 resident hunting permits in 2006, a 17 percent decrease from 1997.

The trend means trouble for some fish and wildlife agencies, which use license revenue to finance preservation programs for endangered species like peregrine falcons, bald eagles and loons. Game wardens also help with law enforcement, joining searches for lost hikers and skiers.

In the search for new sources of revenue to support fish and wildlife programs, Vermont lawmakers are weighing legislation that would dedicate part of the state's sales tax revenues to the Fish and Wildlife Department.

"The issue here is that most of our fish and wildlife agencies were set up to fund conservation, based predominantly or entirely on one set of users" - hunters and anglers who pay license fees, according to Dave Chadwick, senior program associate with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington.

"They're shouldering the whole burden for a benefit and an amenity that we all enjoy," Chadwick said.

Other fundraising strategies range from sales taxes on outdoor sporting goods, as in Texas, to Florida's surcharges on speeding tickets, said Douglas Shinkle, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Some states are trying to boost efforts to recruit new people - especially young people - into hunting and fishing.

A West Virginia legislator has proposed offering hunters' training courses in public schools, allowing seventh- through ninth-graders to opt for instruction in topics ranging from survival skills to gun safety.

Arkansas has used some of its dedicated sales tax revenue to recruit new hunters. However, the state's hunter education program graduated 11,891 people under 30 years old last year, down from 16,596 in 1998.

Vermont sponsors youth hunting weekends, typically three a year. Oregon has started youth mentoring programs that match kids up with experienced hunters. Minnesota has two staff members reaching out to the state's burgeoning Southeast Asian population, said Jay Johnson of the state Department of Natural Resources' hunter recruitment and retention program.

Wright said it might be an uphill battle because of everything from video games to the growth in structured activities like team sports and music lessons.

But Shannon said he has met with some success. After he laid down the law with Alexander last summer, the boy went out fishing almost every morning, he said.
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   A point needs to be made to the legislatures that Hunting and Fishing is good, healthy and can generate a lot of money if properly addressed.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2008 at 18:29
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We've cured the lack of licenses being sold in Wisconsin, our state just keeps raising the price to make up the difference.  5-7 years ago a patrons license was about $110.00 now it is close to $190.00.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2008 at 18:39
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Optics Apprentice
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My little girl is 6 and I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she said she wanted a fishing pole so I took her to Bass Pro shop  and  got her a Ms. Crappie Wally Marshall Combo rod and reel I an one happy father.Big%20SmileBig%20Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2008 at 18:59
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One problem I think contributes to the drop of license sales is the lack of inexpense hunting and fishing. More and more hunting leases, private clubs, etc, and less and less public hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2008 at 12:52
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In Oklahoma they are allowing the private land owners around the public hunting to block the roads.  So it tends to be the neighbors private hunting preserve. Or in other places the county refuses to maintain the roads saying that there are no residences past a point and they are not going to maintain the road. Public land should be kept open. The Wildlife Department will not stand up to keep the lands open thus wasting the money we have entrusted to them.
   
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