Contact: John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
On July 18, Governor Mike DeWine signed the state’s two-year budget bill (HB 166) into law. The legislation contains important conservation funding provisions for the sportsmen and women of Ohio.
Modest license fee increases for deer and turkey permits included in the budget are projected to generate significant funding for the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW). The license fee increases were supported by Ohio’s sportsmen’s community as the DOW reduced services to the state’s hunters, anglers, trappers, and recreational shooters over the years because of budget shortfalls due to the fact that many license fees had not been increased since 2004. Largely funded by license fees and permits generated through the American System of Conservation Funding, the DOW will be better positioned to meet wildlife conservation needs and serve the state’s sportsmen and women.
The budget also included significant funding to support an ongoing land acquisition project that would ensure that American Electric Power’s ReCreation Land in southeastern Ohio will remain open to public use.
A knife ban repeal amendment that would have repealed Ohio’s prohibition against the manufacture or sale of switchblade knives and gravity knives did not make it through in the final version of the budget. Nevertheless, SB 140, which was sponsored by Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Senator Joe Uecker, passed the Senate on June 27, and bill proponents are optimistic that the bill will move forward this year.
Sportsmen and women are the cornerstone for conservation funding in the United States. In 2018 alone, Ohio’s sportsmen and women generated more than $60 million for conservation funding through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and permits and excise taxes on sporting-related goods.
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?