Are they worth it?
For the first time ever, effective Oct. 9, Ohio’s hunters and anglers have the option to buy long-term hunting and fishing licenses. Ohio resident license buyers can choose from 3-year, 5-year, 10-year and lifetime hunting or fishing licenses, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
This is something that Ohio’s sportsmen have been requesting for years.
All single-year and multiyear licenses can be purchased online at wildohio.gov and at participating agents throughout the state if an Ohio driver license or state identification is associated with the customer’s account.
Those interested in purchasing a lifetime license may apply online or at any of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s five district offices or headquarters in Columbus. Locations of ODNR Division of Wildlife offices can be found at wildohio.gov. Lifetime licenses cannot be purchased at license agent locations at this time.
Prices for multiyear and lifetime licenses are as follows: (Youth) 3-year hunting – $28.60, 5-year hunting – $47.58, 10-year hunting – $95.16, lifetime hunting or fishing – $430.56; (adult) 3-year hunting or fishing – $54.08, 5-year hunting or fishing – $90.22, 10-year hunting or fishing – $180.44, lifetime hunting or fishing – $468; (senior) 3-year hunting or fishing – $28.60, 5-year hunting or fishing – $47.58, lifetime hunting or fishing – $84.24.
Youth multiyear and lifetime licenses are available to any Ohio resident 17 years old and younger at the time of purchase. Senior multiyear and lifetime licenses are available for Ohio residents age 66 and older born on or after Jan. 1, 1938.
A hard-plastic card will be provided to lifetime license buyers, and these cards will be available for purchase at an additional cost of $4 to customers who purchase a multiyear license. Cards will be mailed to the customer’s address in seven to 14 days from the purchase date.
All money generated from the sale of multiyear and lifetime licenses will be deposited into the Wildlife Fund, where it will be used to protect and enhance Ohio’s wildlife populations.
Note this applies only to the regular hunting or fishing licenses – not permits like deer, turkey, fur taker, or shooting range permits, or state and federal waterfowl stamps. If you move from Ohio your multi-year or lifetime license would still be valid, but you would have to pay the out-of-state price for additional permits.
Is this a money-saving option for Ohio’s sportsmen? A lot of that depends on your age and how avid you are about hunting and fishing.
The three-year option for an adult hunter or angler would save you about $2.92 over the lifespan of the license with the five-year license buyer seeing a savings of $4.78. You could probably buy a gallon of gasoline or get lunch off the value meal with your savings, but at least you would be immune to future license fee increases.
For younger hunters or fisherman, the lifetime license at $430.56 represents a substantial savings, especially if hunting or fishing becomes a lifetime passion for them. If you have avid youngsters at 16 or 17 years of age, you might want to jump on this before they turn 18.
For adults, let’s face reality. You should weigh the cost of the lifetime license versus how many years you expect to hunt and/or fish – or at least until the point where you can buy the reduced-price senior licenses.
According to my rough calculations you would have to hunt or fish for 25 years to pay off a lifetime license at today’s prices. Therefore, for someone like me a lifetime adult license might not be the best investment (at least from a financial perspective), but if you are an avid sportsman between the ages of 18 and 42, you should consider it. If nothing else, it will lock in your future Ohio hunting or fishing at today’s prices.
In any event, the money from the licenses goes into the Wildlife Fund, so you know it goes to help protect wildlife. There are many worse ways to spend your money.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, a Lake Erie permit ($11) will be required for all nonresidents to fish Ohio waters of Lake Erie from Jan. 1-April 30 each year. Money generated by this permit will be used for specified purposes related to the protection and improvements of Lake Erie, such as combating invasive species, securing public access and providing for fish management projects in Lake Erie.
In other changes, apprentice hunters who have not yet completed hunter education will no longer be limited to purchasing only three apprentice hunting or apprentice fur taker permits. Apprentice hunters can continue to purchase an apprentice license each year until they successfully complete hunter education.
Jim Freeman is the wildlife specialist for the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District. He can be contacted weekdays at 740-992-4282 or at firstname.lastname@example.orgReach