Why it Matters: With Fall semesters underway throughout the country, students within the sporting community will be looking to fields and forests for needed relief and downtime from their studies. On top of financial considerations for books, supplies, and semester credits, non-resident students may have to factor in out-of-state license fees in order to participate in their fall pursuits. With 32states in the country having implemented policies allowing non-resident college students to purchase hunting and/ or angling licenses at resident prices, that still leaves 18 states with out-of-state students who will have to pay non-resident fees to the states which they spend much of their time and physically live in.
- Unlike out-of-state hunters, college students spend much of their time and money within the state they attend school. The rationale for higher license fees does not apply to the same degree as it does to non-resident hunters.
- 32 states have implemented legislation allowing non-resident college students to purchase hunting and/ or angling licenses at resident fees with three states passing legislation in 2023 through CSF’s work with our caucus leadership in MD, OH, and UT.
- In 2023, Maryland Governor Moore signed SB327/HB983 into law. This legislation allows college students to purchase a resident hunting license so long as they provide proof of enrollment in a college or university within the state.
- Additionally in 2023, with the passage of HB 33, Ohio allows full-time non-resident students, who are attending an accredited college or university in Ohio, to purchase a resident hunting license.
- In Utah, among many other things, the passage of HB 30 reclassifies full time non-resident college students as “residents” for the purpose of buying resident rate hunting and fishing licenses.
- The following states allow a form of the license; AL, AR, CO, GA, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MS, MO, MT, NH, NY, MC, ND, NV, NM, OH, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, and WY.
In the Recruiting, Retaining, and Reactivating (R3) space, the undergrad aged demo has been identified as the age group when we see a loss in continuance in the hunting sports. Once students leave their support systems, they’ve had for the first 18 years or so of their lives, suddenly full-time students with part-time employment check out of hunting due to lack of financial resources. In an effort to ensure the sporting community has generational continuity, and to best serve R3 efforts across the country, legislators should consider supporting legislation that encourages the continued participation of college students in our traditional sportsmen’s pursuits. States that have not yet enacted policy allowing out-of-state college student hunting/ angling licenses can support our young sportsmen and women with resident priced licenses for their non-resident students. The sporting community stands a chance to retain these hunters for many years to come with college student hunting and angling licenses.
College student hunting/ angling license legislation has long been a policy focal area at CSF and continues to be as we work with our caucuses in the remaining 18 states lacking such policy. Going back nearly a decade 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.
As we look to future opportunities, it is important to remember that without college student licenses and other related programs, we risk losing future generations of hunters and anglers. Legislators should consider exploring supporting legislation that facilitates the continued participation of college students in our time-honored sportsmen’s activities.