Investing In My Daughter’s OUTDOOR Future

Back about 25 years ago I spent time doing research on the game and fish laws in all 50 states for a project I had to annually update.   Realize back then the chore of determining when catfish noodling season opened in Oklahoma or chasing deer with dogs became legal in Louisiana was not a simple task as it is today with the Internet.   It took tedious phone work and mailings to all the various departments around the country to get the game/fish laws mailed out to an inquiring outdoors writer in Minnesota.

In the process, I discovered something quite interesting happening in perhaps 6 or 7 states.   It was the concept of offering a lifetime hunting or fishing license that could be purchased at various stages of a person’s life.   For instance, if you purchased a license for someone within the first year or two of life, it would be at a discounted rate compared to someone purchasing the license in their 20s or 30s.

The concept intrigued me because I had become an uncle for the first time and I was just gushing to do something special for my nephew…but alas, Minnesota had no such licensing program.   In fact, I would soon learn through my legislator the Minnesota DNR had no appetite for creating such a lifetime license back then out of fear monies placed in such special funds tend to get—shall we say, diverted to other causes over time.

Then, lo and behold about a decade later guess what concept the Minnesota DNR finally embraced?   That’s right, they eventually started issuing lifetime hunting and fishing licenses because departmental attitudes change and the need for being creative in generating funding has never been greater.   In fact, a quick glance at a sampling of states around the country shows the majority now seem to have some form of lifetime licensing option for residents.

Okay, so all of this is great information…but you’re probably asking what does this have to do with my daughter specifically?   Great question.   Glad you asked.   You see, when my daughter was born 28 months ago I did the fatherly thing and purchased her some life insurance.   I also decided to make some sacrifices and place a lump sum of money into a college fund hoping that over 18 years it will appreciate and offset those expenses.

But last week I realized there was another aspect of my daughter, Elsie’s future I had not invested in quite yet.   A future I did not want to overlook nor did I want her to grow up thinking it was somehow unimportant.   Yup, I downloaded the lifetime sportsman license application from the DNR’s website and mailed it in with the necessary funds.   Even for a child under 3 years it was a sizable chunk of money, but the investment seemed to be so necessary.

DSC01750When you give a gift of lifetime hunting and fishing privileges to a child it makes a very bold statement to them—or at least I hope it does.   In my case, I’m 45 years older than my daughter so it’s safe to say there will be a number of years I hope she continues to hunt and fish even when I might no longer be in the picture.   Having purchased a lifetime hunting and fishing license for her is just another reminder to the child how passionately dad viewed these activities in the outdoors.   Perhaps having these “pre-paid” privileges will enable Elsie to also continue and develop that same outdoors passion.   I can always hope.

Seriously, I’m a strong supporter of investing in our children’s lives to make their futures brighter.   As a parent, an aunt/uncle or any caring adult, for that matter…do what you can to save money for colleges, weddings, etc.   However, if the state where the child lives also allows for the purchase of lifetime hunting/fishing licenses…there is no better time than the present to dig deep into those pockets and make the investment.   I guarantee it will be a generous gesture that will continue to pay dividends over an entire lifetime of outdoor experiences.

©2010 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.