Cost of Hunting & Fishing Licenses

I suppose you could call me a pack-rat, of sorts.   Truth is I still have EVERY hunting, fishing and trapping license I’ve purchased in my 25+ years of being a sportsman.   Why have I saved all of these licenses…I really don’t know.   When the season is done I throw them into a box and replace them with a new license in my billfold.

Several years back I added up all the expenditures I’ve had in my life for sporting licenses.   Of course they almost always include a Minnesota fishing, small-game and firearms deer license.   But over the years they have also included such things as Colorado Elk and Mule Deer, Montana Antelope, South Dakota Predator, Ontario Fishing, to name but a few of the licenses I’ve purchased.   The point is being a sportsman, especially a traveling sportsman, can be a costly proposition.

I recall when I last added the licenses up I had spent nearly $1,800…but when I think of what I have done since that time I’m sure the cost currently well exceeds $2,500.   I guess if you break it down that’s spending on average about $100 per year on outdoor fun over the course of my sporting lifetime.

Indeed, no matter what the cost of a hunting or a fishing license it is a good value.   When you break down the number of days you typically spend out hunting or fishing, it becomes an even better value.   Take for instance going to a movie at a theatre.   You can hardly go to a movie these days without spending $7 or $8 just to get in…you typically never go alone…so that cost doubles.   Once you get at the theater you almost certainly have to buy popcorn and refreshments.   It’s unlikely you can get by without spending $25 minimum just to see a 90-minute flick.

On the other hand, sportsmen plan their entire summer vacations around going to the lake fishing.   That $18 (Minnesota Resident) fishing license is a bargain considering the whole purpose for the week is to relax and wet a line.   Or maybe an extended weekend grouse hunting trip is your game.   Here again, a $20 (Minnesota Resident) small game license is a mere pittance to pay considering the pleasure you will get from the experience.

The truth is most sportsmen, whether you live in Minnesota or any other state, really get a good deal when it comes to enjoying the outdoors.   In most cases these monies go to fund critical fisheries and wildlife programs that only further attempt to enhance the quality of the resources enjoyed.   In many cases it is the American sportsman who has paid for the reestablishment of many wildlife species that might otherwise have become extinct.   This is done not only through license dollars, but also through taxes on the sporting goods we purchase for those respective activities (see Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Funds).

According to a 2001 Survey on Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation put out by the USFWS, the average Minnesota angler spent 19 days fishing and 14 days hunting in Minnesota during a typical year.   That breaks down to a cost well under a pack of cigarettes per day simply for the privilege to hunt and fish.   Moreover, the act of hunting or fishing is much more healthful to you that lighting up that pack of heaters.

Perhaps the biggest point I am trying to make is even though we grumble at the ever-increasing cost of hunting and fishing licenses it is truly one of the most reasonable expenditures we make in our lifetime.   What is truly out of line is the cost of the boats, the cabin property we must have, the over-under shotgun, the state-of-the-art camouflage coat, and all associated items we must purchase in order to justify the cost we made by investing in a sporting license.

Speaking of being a pack-rat…have I also told you that I’ve saved every hunting synopsis (rules and regulations book) that I’ve ever had? [pause]  Naah…I better save that topic for another blog sometime.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.