A guide to license-buying this fall
On the heels of the first sporting license overhaul since 2002,
I bring to you the Smart Sportsman’s Guide to License-Buying this
fall. No, there won’t be any coupons available, but the new license
structure being what it is, there are a few bargains to be had,
thanks to some Eleventh-Hour meddling of the state’s political
leaders during the budget-making process.
What resulted transformed a pretty sound license rate hike plan
– albeit one that came at a bad time, given the state of the
economy – into a somewhat flawed proposal that’s now in place for
this Oct. 1, when the new license year begins. What that means to
hunters, anglers and trappers is there may be some deals to be had,
although you won’t get free satellite radio for three months, free
OnStar for a year and a free shotgun if you lose your job. Hey,
this is New York state, not General Motors.
The most obvious move that can be made by hunters and anglers is
to buy a lifetime license prior to Oct. 1, when those rates will
climb. A lifetime Sportsman license for those ages 12-69, for
example, is $600 now, but will jump to $765 when the new rates kick
in Oct. 1. Given that a resident Sportsman license will go from $37
to $47 this fall, your payback on that move come in 12-13 years. So
if you think you’ll be hunting and fishing that long and have the
cash available, now’s the time.
Looking to buy a lifetime freshwater fishing license? Don’t.
Huh? Yes, seriously. Instead, purchase a lifetime freshwater and
saltwater fishing license, which will save you 10 bucks ($460
versus $450). Hey, it’s a new spool of line. And even if you never
plan on taking advantage of the state’s superb saltwater fishing
opportunities, you never know when you might get the chance. You
can thank New York’s political leaders for that bit of wizardry;
they got involved in the saltwater license proposal while crafting
the state budget. Nice job, boys.
And if you’re a diehard saltwater angler, just go out and buy a
lifetime marine license, which can be had for a mere $150. You
can’t even go to a Yankees game for that. Again, New York’s budget
crafters had a hand in setting that fee way too low – a lifetime
freshwater fishing license is $350 now, $460 this fall.
I hate to even mention this one, because the Conservation Legacy
license includes the much-needed habitat stamp, which should be a
mandatory purchase for all sportsmen and women. But under the new
license structure, sportsmen can actually save money by purchasing
a Super Sportsman license ($88). The Conservation Legacy license
includes the habitat stamp and a subscription to DEC’s The
Conservationist magazine), but you’ll also have to pay $10 to apply
for a Deer Management Permit. Due to some last-minute political
maneuvering – the product of some fierce lobbying from the New York
State Farm Bureau, sources indicate – that $10 DMP application fee
has been waived for buyers of the Super Sportsman license.
Yes, sportsmen and women of New York, there are some deals to be
had. Spend wisely; Lord knows our state doesn’t.