By angelamontana

Posted: March 8, 2024

It’s that time of year when we need to get a new sporting license. Like it or not, a fishing/hunting license renewal is required to continue fishing and hunting. 

Back in the day, a license was just a numbered pin that you hooked onto your hat. Later they became large tags hung onto a vest or coat. Today they can be a paper copy, photo, or an electronic number that a Game Warden can find when afield. 

Different states have different regulations and seasons. In Maryland, your license gets renewed at the time you purchase it. This way you get a full year of your licenses. If you purchased the license in July, then it is renewed in July. Many states allow online computer access to acquire licenses and permits from home. 

In Montana, you can go to your regional office to get your annual license. They also have all the other publications and a selection of posters and great information. Many sporting good and fishing shops also can hook you up. 

Some outlaws refuse to sign up and hunt/ fish legally. These Poachers do what they want, as the please at the expense of everyone else. This is no different than driving without a driver’s license or paying taxes. Fines await them when they are caught.

Many species that are not hunted or fished for benefit from license fees. Limits and pressure are controlled by scientific records and research. Healthy habitats are key to healthy wildlife populations. 

Thanks to sportsmen, we still have places to enjoy wildlife. 90% of wildlife protection, management, and public lands comes from hunting and fishing license fees and taxes. Sportsmen also pay a tax on all gear and equipment used for hunting and fishing. 

Hunting and fishing seasons are not always year around. Closures protect wildlife during spawning or migrations, and Winter stress. You may only be able to hunt a species for a few weeks or months a year, but the public is able to enjoy the public spaces year around. In places where game and fish are stocked, the seasons are also restricted. 

Sporting licenses are a great thing, even if you do not hunt or fish. If you want to donate to a worthy cause, Sportsmen licenses go directly to managing wildlife and land. Every critter benefit from healthy land and water management that is paid for by sportsmen. Birdwatchers’ boaters, hikers, campers, and everyone that visits parks and wild places have a destination and things to see thanks to hunters and fishermen. 

States provide Resident and Non-Resident licenses. Non-Resident fees are reciprocal. If the nonresident state has a higher fee, that is what you will pay in another state. Residents are allowed more access to special permits, access, and smaller fees. Bundling licenses can save money. 

In Montana, you can get a Sportsman’s Package with/without Bear tags. This includes your fishing, upland birds, and conservation/access fees. Additional tags are available. Some are Lottery based. Points can be saved for future draws, where competition for tags is harder. 

Montana now requires that people that use Fishing Access sites need to purchase a $4-$10 Conservation Stamp. These fees manage and repair damage to public access areas that are heavily used and sometimes abused. Residents, Seniors, and Vets pay less than nonresidents. It’s only fair that everyone that enjoys and uses facilities and parks should also contribute to maintaining and managing them. 

License fees also support shooting ranges, wildlife management areas, education, conservation, watershed improvements, invasive species controls, endangered species protections, special regulation fishing areas for kids, seniors, and handicapped access. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy recreating outdoors. These are all things that citizens want and support. 

Even if you don’t hunt or fish, you can support others that do. It’s a great way to say thanks for our public parks, resources, and recreation. 

My Dad always said that your Sportsmen Licenses are like giving to the Church. The fees are used to help our wonderful Wild Places.

Montanan Grant

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