This last week, I bought a hunting license and found out I had to buy a "habitat permit." What a joke. Last year, every place I went for fishing or hunting was plastered with "No Trespassing" signs so that the owners and their friends can do all the hunting and fishing while the public remains locked out. Now this habitat money will be funneled into the pockets of these same landowners. But will the signs come down? No way.
I'm just one of the little guys who was taught to love fishing and hunting, yet I see both becoming "sport for the rich," as is the case in Europe. Well, I now make a proposal. At the state and federal level strict laws should be passed stating that any person who owns or controls large pieces of property must open those lands to public hunting if any public money or tax breaks are used in any way to maintain that property, and the landholder would have to prove compliance. The only exception would be if the land were private property and declared as "No Hunting/No Fishing" for everyone, including the owner and family. All government-held land should be open for public hunt and fishing unless it is closed for specific safety reasons, such as parks, military reservations and lands in proximity to habitations. Too much public land leased to individuals and companies is posted to keep the public out yet used to create private game reserves for the rich.Too many large landowners who constantly feed at the public trough through tax breaks and farm subsidies turn around and feed at the public trough a third time by making large amounts of money conducting fishing trips and limits on the property they control, while we small-time hunters and fishermen can't even get off the hardtop. Wildlife and fish belong to the public, not corporate landholders.
R. Scott Ormond