Renew Your Fishing License

For years, Georgia fishing and hunting licenses expired on April 1 each year. Now, they expire on the day you bought them a year later if you buy an annual license. That confuses many folks and they forget to check and renew them on time, risking a fine.

April Fools Day always reminds me to check my license since I had to buy one by then for many years. I did this year, it expires in 2216. I got my lifetime Senior License a few years ago but forget that and check anyway. I just wish I could be fishing 197 years from now when it expires, and I would have to renew it.

I never minded paying for hunting and fishing licenses. The fees are used to improve those activities in a variety of ways, from hiring new game wardens to funding hatcheries that produce all our hybrids and most of our trout.

My only worry about the fees is that they will not be used as intended. As I understand the process, the license fees go into the general fund and then legislators have to approve it being spent at intended. It would be too easy for them to spend that money in other ways.

I would not be happy if they voted to use the money for something like highway improvement. Not only would that be double taxation, hunters and fishermen already pay the gas tax for that, it would go against the way the money was intended to be spent.

I feel the same way about outdoor recreation that has nothing to do with hunting and fishing. Funding a nature trail on public land is nice, but do not use money hunters and fishermen paid to improve their sports. Use money from a fee or pass for using the area if not hunting or fishing.

Hunters and fishermen fund our sports nationally, too. The Dingle-Johnson Act places a ten percent excise tax on all fishing equipment. You pay it when you buy hooks or reels, or anything else related. Hunters pay the Pitman-Robinson excise tax for the same reason.

Funds are collected by the federal government and most of it is sent back to the states as block grants. The amount each state gets is based on a formula that includes number of hunting and fishing licenses issued by that state. It also requires that the receiving state spend all their state hunting and fishing license fees on those activities.

States are required to spend this money on hunting and fishing, but all outdoorsmen benefit. Most state hunting areas are open to bird watchers, hikers and others that do not hunt but get to enjoy lands hunters and fishermen purchased and conserved.

Check you fishing and hunting license!

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