Controversy Surrounds New Wildlife Regulations
Bob Roberts - Thu 03:11 PM 12/13/2012
Within the hunting and fishing community there are always some issues that bring controversy. None has been cussed and discussed as much as the new law requiring senior citizens 65 to 74 to buy a hunting or fishing license. Most folks don't know why Kansas Wildlife Parks and Tourism needs the seniors to buy licenses. The department has not done the best job of explaining why to the public. The department did make a good case to the legislature and the matter had little opposition after changes were made to the original proposal.
Robin Jennison, Secretary of KDWPT, said that Kansas was not getting a fair share of the federal excise tax revenue that is collected on firearms, ammunition and fishing tackle. This tax money is then returned to states and the amount is determined by the number of resident hunting and fishing licenses. Due to the growth of seniors in the state and the lack of younger folks buying licenses, Kansas was losing out to other states that were charging seniors for licenses.
As of last year only about a dozen or so states did not require senior citizens to buy a hunting or fishing license and in the next few years some say all states will probably require 65 and over folks to buy a license.
The original proposal before the legislature offered no price break for seniors but Jennison openly entertained the idea of half price for seniors. Even that was getting some resistance from lawmakers. After working the numbers which meant meeting the federal guidelines to qualify for the excise tax money and giving a break to seniors, the senior lifetime license was added to the legislation.
The final regulation lets seniors 65 to 74 pay half price for a hunting or fishing license on a yearly basis. The other option is the senior lifetime combination hunting and fishing license which is priced at 42.50. It's a one time purchase that is a bargain for those who buy it.
It is also timely that it goes into effect when gun sales are at an all time high and expected to even increase in the next few years. The dollars returned to Kansas should be significantly higher in the next few years based on more hunting and fishing licenses being sold.