For less than a single round of golf, you can fish all year long. You can hunt squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes all season for less than the cost of a tank of gas. Fifty dollars buys you the opportunity to take two deer — hundreds of dollars’ worth of meat when compared to grocery store prices.
As the new license year approaches, Kentucky’s hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities remain one of the state’s best recreational values. Families are pinching pennies wherever they can find them, and licenses offer an incredible value not only for a year’s worth of fun on the lake or in the woods, but for plenty of chances to bring home dinner at a bargain price.
“A fishing license is a great deal for families looking for cost-effective recreation,” said Benjy Kinman, deputy commissioner and former director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Kids under 16 fish free and parents pay less than the cost of a night at the movies to fish all year long, or they may simply purchase a one-day license. Fishing gets everyone outdoors, away from the TV. Fishing is an enjoyable escape and creates lifetime memories.”
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife stocks more than four million fish each year into the state’s lakes, rivers and streams. The department builds and maintains public fishing piers and bank fishing access areas, enforces fishing and boating laws to ensure public safety and protection of fishery resources, and runs an expanding Fishing in Neighborhoods Program (FINs) to provide urban area residents with a place to fish nearby. License dollars create so much opportunity that Kentucky is known beyond its borders as a fishing destination.
Money from license sales produces many of the same benefits on land. Deer and turkeys, whose numbers dwindled in the early 20th century, now thrive in Kentucky. The state routinely ranks in the country’s top five for Boone and Crockett trophy deer taken. A healthy elk population now roams eastern Kentucky, along with a growing number of black bears. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife continues its concentrated habitat efforts to stabilize and rebuild small game numbers statewide.
“Through purchasing a license, you are contributing to the conservation and management of wildlife in Kentucky,” said Karen Waldrop, wildlife division director for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “License money pays for the restoration of species like deer and turkey, land acquisition, and the continued management of fish and wildlife habitat and populations.”
Education programs reach hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians each year through classroom conservation education, conservation camps, hunter safety courses, aquatic education and more. Since the department receives no tax dollars from Kentucky’s general fund, none of this would be possible without the support of license buyers.
Some of the most popular licenses include the annual fishing license, which is just $20; a resident combination hunting and fishing license for $30, which covers fishing, as well as hunting for small game and furbearer species; and a statewide deer permit, $30 for Kentucky residents, which in combination with an annual hunting license allows the holder to take two deer — one antlered and one antlerless, or two antlerless. Families will find a great value in licenses — a joint husband and wife fishing license is available for $36, and kids under 12 don’t have to buy most hunting licenses at all.
Sportsmen and sportswomen who fish and hunt for multiple species could find themselves paying up to $145 for the licenses and permits needed to take deer, turkeys, small game, ducks and geese, furbearers and all species of fish. This is why Kentucky Fish and Wildlife offers a Sportsman’s License. It’s a package deal that shaves $50 off the cost of buying those licenses and permits separately. The $95 Sportsman’s License, available only to Kentucky residents, includes a combination hunting and fishing license, a statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, a state waterfowl permit and a trout permit. It’s like having yearlong movie tickets or a season pass to your favorite amusement park. The only extras hunters need are a federal duck stamp to hunt waterfowl, and an additional permit if they want to hunt at Peabody Wildlife Management Area or Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. A bear hunting permit, trapping license and an elk lottery application must also be purchased separately.
For complete licensing information, pick up a copy of the 2010-11 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, or the 2010 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Spring Turkey & Squirrel, available online at fw.ky.gov and wherever licenses are sold.
Getting a good value for your money is more important than ever. Kentucky hunting, trapping and fishing licenses are still one of the best deals around. For more information, call Kentucky Fish and Wildlife toll-free at 1-800-858-1549, or go online to fw.ky.gov.