OUR VIEWS: Lifelong licenses make sense

Jun 12, 2012

 

As such, our government should do whatever it takes to make licensure for these time-honored traditions an easy process.

Having to purchase licenses each year in a busy society is, well, inconvenient.

The state used to offer lifelong licenses to state residents — and, in 1989, the last year it was offered, 3,135 anglers and hunters purchased them. Overall, more than $1 million in lifelong license sales occurred, and the state keeps the money in a trust, with a portion withdrawn each year to support wildlife management efforts.

Now state Rep. Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, has asked the question of why the state doesn’t offer these lifelong licenses anymore. About time.

He introduced a bill that would bring back the licenses, and wildlife officials and other special interest groups are all chiming in.

Wildlife officials claim such licenses are a pain to manage, and could mean cuts in funding for wildlife management efforts in the long run as young hunters get more than their money’s worth out of licenses.

While this might be the case in some situations, more than likely the state wouldn’t entirely switch to expensive lifelong licenses. Most folks will opt for the yearly license rather than pay out a large sum of money up front. Many others might pay for it, then not use it after a year or three. Then there are the out-of-state visitors who could be offered only yearly licenses.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials should put aside the “sky is falling” mentality, and instead find a way to offer convenient and long-term licensure that makes sense for state residents.

Why? Because getting people safely outdoors to enjoy fishing, trapping and hunting should be a priority. It is our heritage, after all.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.
 

Comments

Jon C. Overway

I would like to address my remarks to Matt DeYoung, who I know as a fellow sportsman and friend of my family! My name is Jon Overway and I have been hunting and fishing in this State for over fifty years.

I have read with some interest the June 12, 2012, editorial regarding Rep. LeBlanc's proposal to reconsider lifelong hunting, fishing, trapping licenses. It appears the MUCC and the Tribune's Editorial Board are supporting this idea. But I have to ask "at what cost" would this proposed system be implemented.

I know from experience the entire hunting/fishing community in Michigan has always supported "paying their way" when it comes to the conservation of Michigan's game rich resources and participating in sporting opportunities. I think the State has responded with reasonable license fees that everyone seems to be able to afford.

As a sporting community, we have financially supported the Michigan DNR and it management programs since it's inception. This current proposal seems to only address the short-term affect of this lifelong licensing system...but what of the long term? I don't see that Rep. LeBlanc has offered any suggestions. As a person inducted into our State's "shared sacrifice", I now know enough to ask, "where will the money come from", to replace the lost license revenue. Those that can afford the $1000 for the comprehensive license already know...it will come from those that cannot afford a lifelong license. It will come from those who buy an annual license. Eventually, those who purchase annual licenses (because they cannot afford the lifelong plan) will make up that eighty cents on the dollar lost to the lifelong plan, and more considering inflation. We should not inadvertently limit future members of the hunting and fishing community by creating greater fees than necessary.

Furthermore, I hardly see this proposal as financially responsible to our own well-being as Michigan sportsmen if it indeed undermines the DNR and their management programs.

Matt, I should like to hear a lot more regarding the financial details before this proposal has my support. Perhaps you can keep us informed through your fine outdoor articles...I look forward to them.

Jon C. Overway
Nunica, Michigan

 

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