In a move that will help address the looming funding crisis facing Ohio’s fish and wildlife management agency, the Ohio General Assembly sent a two-year budget to Gov. John Kasich that includes increases in non-resident hunting and fishing license fees. The increases, which will be phased in over three years, are estimated to produce $4 million per year in funding for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
The Division of Wildlife, which oversees hunting, fishing, trapping, endangered species work and habitat management throughout the state, is projected to need $220 million over the next ten years to meet its current obligations. The increases contained in Ohio’s Biennial Budget Bill (House Bill 49) will produce approximately $35 to $40 million toward that need.
“We are very pleased that the both the House and the Senate have taken the first step to addressing the challenge facing natural resource funding in Ohio,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance, which coordinated the efforts of 41 hunting and fishing groups that favored hunting and fishing license fee increases on both residents and non-residents. “While the legislature did not tackle resident license fees, this gives us a great start toward securing a future for our fish and wildlife resources.”
Earlier this spring, the Sportsmen’s Alliance and its partners expressed growing alarm over the lack of adequate wildlife law enforcement, shooting range development, fish stocking and habitat conservation work that was a result of the financial crunch. The groups are committed to continuing discussions with the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. Kasich’s office about how to address the funding challenge moving forward.
The Sportsmen’s Alliance acknowledges and thanks the 41 organizations that supported this effort. As in the past, these organizations recognized the need for sportsmen to “pay our own way” when it comes to conservation. The 41 organizations include: the Sportsmen’s Alliance, Ohio Conservation Federation, Ohio Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited Ohio, Pheasants Forever, Central Ohio Hunters and Anglers, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ohio Wildlife Council, Buckeye Big Buck Club, Ohio State Trappers Association, Buckeye Firearms Association, Greene County Fish and Game Association, League of Ohio Sportsmen, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, Ohio Bowhunters Association, Ohio Bass Federation, Ohio Husky Musky Club, Trout Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rocky Brands, National Wildlife Federation, Gallia County Conservation Club, Quail Forever, Turn-In-Poacher, SW Ohio Chapter, Safari Club International, Northern Ohio Chapter Safari Club International, Stark County Federation of Conservation Clubs, Scio Sportsman’s Club, Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders, Richwood Gun and Game Club, Pickaway County Sportsmen, Lansing Sportsmen’s Club, Fulton County Sportsmen, Auglaize County Pheasants Forever, Moulton Gun Club, Ashland County Pheasants Forever, Richland County Conservation Association, Ashland County Conservation League, Steel T Precision, Central Ohio Coon Hunters Association, Black Swamp Bucks.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.