On June 20, legislation sponsored by Sen. Joe Uecker (R- Miami Township) and Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) that would allow multi-year hunting licenses for Ohio sportsmen passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous vote. Senate Bill 257 would allow Ohio’s sportsmen to purchase three, five, or 10-year hunting and fishing licenses or lifetime licenses. As a result of SB 257, the state will offer these additional products to sportsmen at a discount. Senate Bill 257 will now head to Gov. Kasich’s desk to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 257 makes other changes to wildlife regulations in addition to the multi-year licenses. SB 257 allows for the addition of gas powered ATV/UTV for the disabled, the removal of the three-year cap on apprentice hunting, the creation of the apprentice fur-taker permit and the addition of a four-percent writing fee on licenses. The bill also creates a $10 Lake Erie non-resident fishing permit, treats non-resident youths the same as resident youths, extends turkey permits for the entire license year in which they were purchased and makes fishing licenses valid for a year from the date of purchase.
The Sportsmen’s Alliance, with the help of its coalition partners, which includes Buckeye Firearms Association, Ducks Unlimited, League of Ohio Sportsmen, Ohio Conservation Federation, Ohio State Trappers Association, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, Safari Club International – Central Ohio Chapter, Safari Club International – Southwest Ohio Chapter, Columbiana County Federation of Conservation Clubs, Greene County Fish and Game Club, Hocking County Fish and Game Club, and Stark County Federation of Conservation Clubs, worked diligently with ODNR and the bill’s sponsors to ensure that the discounts contained in Senate Bill 257 were structured to protect funding levels that pay for habitat, law enforcement, boating access and more.
The discounts in Senate Bill 257 are now set according to the recommendations of the nation’s top economic forecasting firm that specializes in outdoor recreation. The firm, Southwick Associates, strongly recommended discounts no higher than five percent. At the request of the Sportsmen’s Alliance and its coalition, both the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the bill sponsors agreed to that level of discount, which resulted in support for the bill from the sportsmen’s community.
“We would like to thank the bill’s sponsors, Senators Uecker and O’Brien, Representative Jack Cera and the Department of Natural Resources for working with our coalition to craft legislation that we hope will help increase revenue for the Division of Wildlife, while also stimulating new participation,” said Luke Houghton, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance.
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.