Several bills in legislature could impact hunting, fishing license

~courtesy of The Scranton Journal

Greene County resident and hunting enthusiast Fred Long is active in the field hunting wild game but also keeps a close eye on the Iowa State Legislature. At the Greene Gobblers Hunting Heritage banquet, Long touched on some bills in both the House and Senate.

He provided an update for The Scranton Journal, noting that a large percentage of the funding for the Department of Natural Resources comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses:

“There are several bills in the Iowa Legislature that, if passed, will greatly reduce the value of the license fee increase that we fought so hard to achieve.

“House File 218 makes the resident deer tag valid in any season. A resident could buy a first season bow hunter’s tag and hunt all subsequent seasons until filled. This has the potential to greatly reduce the number of deer tags sold.

“House File 219 would allow a land owners child to hunt on his property until they are 27 years old without buying a hunting license. Ninty-nine percent of Iowa is private property so the number of hunting licenses sold could be greatly reduced.

“Senate File 46 would allow the owners of private lakes and ponds, and their guests to fish on those private waters without a fishing license. Between 12 and 15 percent of Iowa anglers fish exclusively on private waters. This bill would reduce the number of fishing licenses sold by a corresponding amount.

“Senate File 50 would allow for the land owners turkey and deer tags to be valid for all seasons until filled. Currently they can receive one free land owner’s turkey tag valid for one season. Landowners can get one buck only and one any-sex tag for free and these tags are valid for one season each. If a landowner wants to hunt in a season not designated on his land owner’s tag, he has to purchase a statewide tag. This could greatly reduce the number of statewide tags sold.

“Not only would these new proposals reduce the funding to the Department of Natural Resources because of fewer tags and license sales, they would reduce the funding through lost funding from the Pittman-Robertson fund and the Dingell Johnson fund.

“In 2018 the state of Iowa DNR received $51.58 from the Pittman-Robertson fund for every hunting license sold. The amount varies from year to year base on a formula. In 2017 they received $51.23 and in 2016 they received $46.13. The hunting license sales is the only thing considered to return this money to our state. The money is derived from an excise tax charged the manufacturer. The money can be used for public land acquisition and public shooting ranges.

“In 2018 the state of Iowa DNR received $12.29 for every fishing license sold from the Dingell-Johnson fund. Again the funds are distributed based on a formula. In 2017 the DNR received $12.54 and in 2016 they received $13.11. The amount again is determined based on the number of fishing licenses sold. The funds are derived from a federal excise tax to the manufacturers on fishing tackle sold. This money is used for lake restoration and similar projects.

“There is also a bill, Senate File 45, which would prevent any law enforcement officer from entering private property to investigate possible DNR regulation infractions or to seize any evidence without a search warrant. This would make it virtually impossible to enforce our wildlife laws.”

Long explained the DNR has no permanent director at this time to speak for the department. He urges local residents to contact their state legislators, Senator Jerry Behn and Representative Phil Thompson to voice their opinions on these issues.

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