Few of us know where the money goes that is used to purchase hunting and fishing licenses. Many of us throw a tantrum whenever there is a raise in the cost of our licenses that give us permission to hunt and fish, looking at it as a “cost” burden. The actual license fee is a tiny fraction of the overall expenditure equation, but one of the only fees that actually gives back to the sportsman more then they spend. There is a 75% match in Federal aid dollars for every dollar spent on an Iowa license, so if a fishing license was increased by $5, Iowa hunters and anglers would get a match of $15 in additional funds for fish and wildlife programs.
Some of us forget or simply don’t realize what it takes to maintain and improve our outdoor resources and opportunities. The Department of Natural Resources along with other organizations such as Pheasants Forever, The National Wild Turkey Federation and Whitetails Unlimited work together in order to make these improvements. Anglers and hunters get back increased opportunities and programs for the money they spend on their hunting and fishing licenses. In Northeast Iowa moneys used to purchase licenses also purchase and make available public land for hunting, fishing, habitat projects and land maintenance. Ride a horse at a place like Volga River Recreational Center or go trout fishing or hunt at places like Sny Magil Creek.
Would any outdoors man or woman not want more places like these across Iowa and the United States in general? This money used for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses also helps maintain trails, supports three trout hatcheries in Iowa as well as providing colored maps on how to get to these beautiful areas. Walleye in rivers like the Turkey, Upper Iowa, Maquoketa and Wapsipinicon don’t just appear. It takes years of research to figure out how to establish sustainable populations and to stock fingerling fish to maintain those populations. All of this is paid for by the purchase of annual hunting and fishing licenses.
Remember when there were virtually no deer or turkeys left? These species and others – not mentioned were brought back due to management efforts paid for through hunting and fishing licenses. Most sportsmen don’t realize the programs and benefits they get back for a purchase of a hunting or fishing license. We need to educate sportsmen as well as others who enjoy outdoor recreational activities that things don’t just happen on its own. Just like anything else, if it is not properly cared for and fitted with the right knowledge and equipment, all that is here will disappear!