Several states have passed legislation that allows non-resident, full-time college students to obtain hunting and/or angling licenses at the same price as state residents. The intent of these bills are to increase hunter and angler recruitment and retention within a subset of sportsmen and women which are especially prone to being restricted from hunting due to the financial realities associated with attending colleges and universities.
Several states have adopted legislation that allows non-resident, full time college students to obtain hunting and/or fishing licenses at the same price as an in-state resident. These measures are intended to maintain access to, and encourage participation in, hunting and angling for student-sportsmen and women who, due to the financial constraints faced by many students, may otherwise not be able to afford it.
These bills may also include provisions enabling students attending school out-of-state to obtain a resident license, which is often more affordable, when they return to their home state, including brief school vacations.
Points of Interest
- College hunting licenses are particularly beneficial in western states where the price of an out-of-state big game tag is costly, and the chance of being drawn for a license as an out-of-state resident is low.
- Unlike other non-resident hunters, college students spend most of their time (and money) in their college or university’s state, thus the rationale for charging significantly more for a non-resident tag does not apply to the same degree as it does for more traditional non-resident hunters.
- 29 states have implemented legislation allowing non-resident college students to purchase hunting and/or angling licenses at resident prices.
- In 2014, New Hampshire approved a college student license through the passage of HB 1290, sponsored by New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member, Representative Benjamin Lefebvre.
- In 2015, Maine adopted a college student hunting, angling, trapping license, when LD 256, sponsored by Maine Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Senator Paul Davis, became law.
- In 2017, Alabama passed House Bill 3 that allowed nonresident college students, that met certain requirements, in Alabama to purchase a hunting of fishing license at the same cost as an in-state resident.
- In 2018, West Virginia amended and reenacted §20-2B-7 with the passage of SB 346 which permits full-time, nonresident students attending an in-state college or university to purchase lifetime resident statewide hunting, trapping, trout fishing, and fishing licenses.
- The list of states that currently allow a form of the license are: AL, AR, CO, GA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, NH, NY, NC, ND, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, and WY.
The following states have passed college student hunting/fishing license legislation using the language below:
- Louisiana Public Act 324: “Any person who is not a resident of the state of Louisiana but who is a full-time student enrolled in an accredited college or university that has a physical campus in the state of Louisiana may purchase a nonresident basic hunting license for the cost of a resident hunting license. Any licenses or permits that may be required in addition to the basic hunting license, such as a big game license or a duck license or a turkey license, may also be purchased for the cost of the equivalent resident license or permit.”
- Montana Code 87-2-525: “A student who is not a resident, as defined in 87-2-102, may purchase a Class B-14 nonresident college student big game combination license for the same price as a Class AAA combination sports license if that student: (a) is currently enrolled as a full-time student at a postsecondary educational institution in Montana, with 12 credits or more being considered full-time; or (b) (i) has a natural or adoptive parent who currently is a Montana resident, as defined in 87-2-102; (ii) has a high school diploma from a Montana public, private, or home school or can provide certified verification that the applicant has passed the general educational development test in Montana; and (iii) is currently enrolled as a full-time student at a postsecondary educational institution in another state. The holder of a Class B-14 license is entitled to all the privileges of a Class B license, a Class B-1 license, a Class B-7 license, an elk tag, and a nonresident wildlife conservation license.”
The sportsmen’s community has a vested interest in ensuring that student-sportsmen remain engaged in our outdoor traditions while in school. Without college student licenses and other related programs, we risk disengaging future generations of hunters and anglers. For this reason, legislators should consider exploring supporting legislation that facilitates the continued participation of college students in our time-honored sportsmen’s activities.
For more information regarding this issue, please contact Joe Mullin 202-543-6850 x20; firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.07%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (12.92%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (62.73%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.28%)