On June 28, the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report for House Bill 49, the biennial budget bill, which included modest license fee increases for nonresident hunters and anglers.
Over the next decade, the fee increases are projected to bring in an additional $40 million in revenue for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Resident license fees were not increased.
The Ohio sportsmen’s community called for the increases to support the Ohio Division of Wildlife and its programs and services for hunters, anglers, trappers, and recreational shooters. The fee increases were supported by numerous in-state and national conservation organizations. License fees have not been adjusted in the state since 2003.
Last March, the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a Caucus Breakfast in the Ohio Statehouse to discuss conservation issues important to Ohio’s hunters and anglers. During the event, representatives from conservation organizations, including the Ohio Conservation Federation and Ducks Unlimited, spoke about the need to increase hunting and fishing license fees to support the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
License sales, along with excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, motorboat fuel, and other sporting-related goods account for the largest source of conservation funding in the United States. This “user-pays, public-benefits” approach known as the American System of Conservation Funding helps provide critical funding for the Ohio Division of Wildlife to manage fish and wildlife resources for all Ohioans.
Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Jonathan Dever said, “The nonresident fee adjustments support the solvency of the Division of Wildlife and help ensure the Division will be able to continue to provide important services to Ohio’s sportsmen and women.”
Ohio’s 1.56 million sportsmen and women support more than 46,800 jobs in the state and contribute more than $4.3 billion to the state’s economy.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?