Sporting licenses

Several years ago when I was plying my editorial trade for the Courier-Journal I received a phone call from the then commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources The agency was considering a $5 fee for its senior sporting license, which at that time was free. The commissioner was curious as to my thoughts on how the senior sporting crowd might react to a proposed fee.

Before I could say that the senior sporting crowd would likely be enraged at being required to pay for a heretofore age-based entitlement, the commissioner explained that the nominal fee was needed not to pump up the fish and wildlife coffers (the budget was then flush) but to allow the state and wildlife agency to rake in additional federal matching dollars. Matching funds are based only on the number of license sold, thus the needed fee to add the senior license. No state agency wants to leave federal money on the table.

I offered that there would be some grumblings, of course, but if the reasonings behind the fee were properly and thoroughly explained it would be readily accepted. Sportsmen always step up. I’ve forgotten the details but fish and wildlife mounted an effective PR blitz and the fee (now $12) was installed without rioting or really much complaint.

I bought one last week. A reminder that you’re older than you think you are.