By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter
FAIRWAY – A 40-year-old tradition of free hunting and fishing for senior Kansans is falling to state budget pressures this year.
Beginning Jan. 1, hunters and anglers age 65 – 74, will need to chip in between $11.50 and $42.50 to pursue those sports in the state. Kansans 75 or older can still hunt or fish for free.
Federal surveys show about 20,000 Kansas hunters and 30,000 Kansas fishermen are 65 or older. Kansas already sells nearly 847,000 hunting and fishing licenses to younger enthusiasts.
The new fees, along with some matching U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service matching funds hooked by the additional license sales, will bring between $900,000 and $1 million more to help fund Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism operations, said department spokesman Ron Kaufman.
Kansas, like many other states, has seen a decline in hunting and fishing income during the last several years because fewer young people are participating in those sports. In Kansas, fees from those licenses and money from federal excise taxes on sporting goods provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are the sole source of about $60 million in annual operating funds for the state agency.
The new fees for seniors go into effect this week and range from an annual $11.50 a year combined license that is half what 16-64 year olds pay to a $42.50 license that is good for 10 years.
Contact Gene Meyer at [email protected]