Savings of both money and time could be in the works for sporting license buyers, if changes announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are enacted.
A recent increase in license fees has raised ire with individuals and sporting groups, but it was the governor’s planned fishing trip last spring that prompted a closer look at how resident and non-resident anglers, hunters and trappers pay fees and the terms of anglers’ license durations.
During an interview last week Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens noted that it started with the governor’s purchase of a fishing license.
“He questioned why a fishing license bought in the late summer would have to be renewed on Oct. 1,” Martens said.
Further conversations led to not only terms in time, but also the costs and complications in the sporting license fee structures. In a Feb. 21 announcement, the governor put forth a series of changes that reduce the cost of annual fishing, hunting, archery and muzzleloader fees for residents and non-residents and additional reductions for one-day turkey and fishing licenses for non-residents.
As for renewal periods, hunting licenses will renew on Sept. 1, rather than the previous Oct. 1 date. Early small game and waterfowl hunts prompted this change.
But a more significant renewal change will be an expiration date set for one year from the date of purchase.
The governor noted, “Anglers will get a full year of fishing no matter when they purchase the license.”
Commissioner Martens stressed the simplification of fee options, which could help in attracting newcomers to New York State’s outdoors resources.
Martens also pointed to significant boat-launch rehabilitation projects statewide at public access sites such as the Cuba Lake launch in Allegany County.
Along with the reduced fees and terms for resident sportsmen and women, the governor’s slate of non-resident fees show major reductions, especially for hunters.
The annual bow license cost drops from $140 to $40; the muzzleloader fee of $140 drops to $30. A one-day turkey tag costing $50 will be reduced to $20.
Rather than a loss of funds, these non-resident fee reductions could increase state-border license purchases and participation. Hunters and sport shop operators recall a drastic drop in non-resident license purchases following the last fee increase.
Non-resident anglers and hunters, especially those with young children old enough to register for the hunt, may be more inclined to obtain licenses and head afield, which could improve hunter recruitment.
Discussion, passage and enactment of these proposals are still in the works, but a simplified sporting license format may be on anglers’ agendas and hunters’ horizons sometime soon.