In an age of reduced funding sources, declining hunter participation, and increases in the average age of hunters, can cash-strapped state wildlife agencies afford to continue offering exemptions to hunting and fishing licenses? That’s the issue facing Kansas as its wildlife department prepares to ask the state legislature to eliminate the state’s senior citizen exemption for hunting and fishing licenses.
From this story in the Wichita Eagle_:_
Kansas senior citizens could be required to buy hunting and fishing licenses after this year. For decades, residents 65 and over have been exempt from the annual permits that currently sell for about $18 each. Chris Tymeson of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission said Thursday that the agency will ask the Legislature to remove the exemption.
He said the request is being made to ensure continued funding for the agency as the average age of sportsmen continues to increase. Those currently exempt would not be grandfathered in. Exemptions and reduced rates for landowners would continue. As well as increased direct funding, the additional number of hunting and fishing licenses sold would qualify the department for more federal funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Your thoughts? Is your state considering something similar? Considering that most state wildlife agencies are largely self-funded, should there be any exemptions at all?