Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

Pricing out all but the wealthy hunters

Well hunters, the time is almost here when we can kiss our sport good-bye.

I received a notice that my nonresident fees in Idaho are going up. Idaho has increased the price of hunting and fishing within its borders, but only to nonresidents. An initial attempt to raise fees to all sportsmen, including residents, failed. A second attempt, aimed only at the pocketbooks of visiting out-of-state sportsmen, passed.

Check out these prices of these new fees for nonresidents: Hunting license, $154.75, plus the price of a tag of what you are hunting — deer, $301.75; elk, $416.75; bear, $186.00; mountain lion, $186.00; pronghorn, $311.75. And get this: The cost of a tag for moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat is $2,101.75.

How can they justify these prices? More important, how can we keep paying them? Idaho lost me a few years back. I have said this before, and it now appears that it might happen in my lifetime, that only the very wealthy will be able to hunt. Keep in mind the new prices are the state’s fees only and have nothing to do about the cost related to the hunt.

As the hunting population dwindles, the states put more and more burden on the hunter. I was hunting on a 1,200-acre game farm not too long ago when some hunters from Indiana showed up. I knew panic was about to rise. If you have ever hunted with anyone from that state then you know what I’m talking about.

Two of the hunters were after fallow deer, another after an elk. I was after a wild boar. I hunted hard all day and saw nothing. I was without a guide, as they were assigned to help the hunters from Indiana. Instructions given on that morning called for one guide to go with a fallow deer hunter, while another would go with the elk hunter. Like me, another hunter was to be on his own until he saw a fallow deer he wanted to take. He was then supposed to call the guide on the radio.

About 2 p.m., I heard a shot ring out, then another. I thought someone had gotten something. Within an hour the panic had set in. It seems the fallow deer hunter happened upon the elk his buddy was stalking, and hammered down thinking it was a fallow, just as his friend, on the other ridge was about to shoot.

Can you, in your wildest dreams, see yourself riding home 500 miles with someone who just shot your elk? The fallow deer hunter had to pay the price of the elk, about a $4000 difference, and still didn’t get a fallow deer.

There must be a moral to this story. I just don’t know what it is.

Kids Days at Jenkins is over, and it was a great day. I saw a couple of old buddies in Whitesburg last week. One was Eddie Taylor, who conducted the funeral service for my Aunt Jeanette Fields. Thanks Eddie, great job as usual. The other was Chalmer Craft, who has been like a brother to me for a lifetime.

Till the next time, remember, it is always the same amount of time between days, even if you are having a bad day.

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