Why It Matters: Allowing full-time nonresident college students to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at the resident rate recognizes the financial realities facing students attending higher education out-of-state. Additionally, by taking this step, this furthers hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation goals and balances the modest decline in conservating funding with the long-term gains realized through reducing barriers for an important demographic to participating in our time-honored traditions.
- On February 15, Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Jay Edwards introduced the Operations Appropriations for the Biennium bill, aka the Ohio House of Representative’s budget bill, which contained a provision that would allow full-time nonresident college students to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at the resident rate.
- On June 7, the Senate released their version of the budget bill which retains the college student hunting and fishing license provision.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to Senate committees in support of the student hunting and fishing license provision.
Should the budget bill pass with the college student hunting and angling licenses provision included, Ohio would become the 30th state to offer hunting and fishing licenses to nonresident students at the resident rate. Specifically, the legislation would define “resident” to include an individual who is a full-time student enrolled in an accredited Ohio public or private college or university, resides in Ohio at the time of purchasing a license, and attests to being a full-time student.
If this provision is removed, full-time nonresident students will continue to have to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at the more expensive nonresident rate which often discourages students from participating altogether in these activities during a crucial time in a young adult’s life when they are exploring new experiences and forging lifelong attachments to recreational pursuits. Nonresident students generally spend at least nine months of the year living in the state where their college is located, and providing full-time nonresident students with the option to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at the resident rate supports students continuing to contribute to the American System of Conservation Funding.
Further, as CSF’s letter states, “Encouraging the college-age demographic to participate in hunting and fishing by removing cost-prohibitive barriers is likely to increase the number of licenses sold in the state, as well as the gear purchased by these hunters and anglers, benefitting both the ODNR [Ohio Department of Natural Resources] and local economies.”
CSF applauds the Ohio Legislature for including the college student hunting and angling license provision in the budget bill, and CSF will continue to work with the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and in-state conservation partners to support retaining the provision in the final version of the bill.