Discussion Topic: Should Wildlife Watchers Pay?

In June, we reported on the preliminary numbers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey's five-year study of outdoor recreation (see here). Now with the final numbers out and revealing a 10 percent decrease in hunters and a 13 percent increase in wildlife watchers, an old question is being raised again. From The Chattanoogan:

_Nearly every state wildlife agency . . . is funded primarily by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. . . .

It's just not fair that [sportsmen] continue to shoulder the burden alone.

If I want to go hunting on a wildlife management area . . . I must buy a special permit.

If non-hunters want to go there to hike the trails or watch the wildlife, they don't pay a dime.

I say let's change that... make WMA Permits required for anyone who "uses" a [these areas]... not just those of us who hunt there._

What do you think? Should wildlife watchers pay? Or would that only diminish our influence in how state game agencies spend funds?