Buying a sporting license? Consider supporting these programs

It’s been several years ago now since there was a sporting license fee increase in New York. And just before that last increase I forked over a nice chunk of change to purchase my lifetime licenses, pretty much across the board. That now means I don’t make the annual trek to the local sporting goods store or town clerk’s office to buy my licenses. Other than an antlerless deer permit, which I apply for online, my tags come in the mail.

Back when I did buy my license on an annual basis I would always throw a few more dollars at two programs that can sure use the support of the sporting community. And I still do. One is a mere $5, the other is whatever you feel you can afford.

The first is the annual Habitat & Access Stamp, which sells for $5 at any license issuing agent, including if you buy your hunting license online. The program has been in place since 2002 when legislation was passed introducing it.

This money collected goes into a dedicated fund known as the Habitat Conservation and Access Account (HCAA), which is used specifically to support sustainable fish and wildlife habitat. There’s a list of projects this fund has supported that include everything from parking lots at Public Fishing Rights (PFR) locations, to stream improvements and habitat projects on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA).

Again, the money is spent directly on fish and wildlife conservation programs and we need many more such projects. You can learn more about this program on the Department of Environmental Conservation website.

The next program you can support when purchasing a license, or anytime for that matter, is the Venison Donation Coalition. The VDC is a non-profit group that collects venison donated by hunters, has it processed and donates it to the needy. Hunters often donate entire deer, and a good share of them come from Southern Zone hunters and places where deer populations are very high.

But there is an expense involved in processing the deer, which is usually ground into venison burger, wrapped and distributed through eight regional food banks. Folks in need contact these food banks and some 4 million meals are processed annually. Processing is the biggest expense, and thus the need for public donations. Visit the VDC website for more information.

While you can contribute to both of these programs when purchasing your license on-line, it is safe to say that some license-issuing agents could do a better job at promoting these programs by simply informing sportsmen about them. They could use a lesson in an old retail trick called “suggestive selling.”

All in all, these are programs that allow hunters to help others, as well as themselves, and with fewer of us out there in the fields and woods, and on the water, every penny donated is one that is well spent.

Think it over before you click “OK” in the digital shopping cart, or sign on the bold line at the sports shop.

Categories: Dan Ladd

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