License Structure Proposal
I’ve had an idea floating around in my head for quite awhile now and I know that I have shared it here a couple times before but I wanted to start a thread to see what everyone thinks.
First off, I truly believe that the amount of game that we are able to pursue and harvest, and the amount of time that we get to do it for a little over $20 is phenomenal and we should all be grateful. Talk to hunters from other states and tell them that you get a buck tag, fall turkey tag, spring turkey tag, and unlimited small game opportunities (save pheasants now), for that amount of money and they are shocked and amazed.
Having said that, I would like to see the license structure changed for both revenue purposes and management purposes. Hear me out and let me know what you think.
Right now, with all the tags included with the general license, the PGC really has no idea how many people are participating in each season. They can make educated guesses but there really is no solid way to find out participation numbers. I will note the pheasant stamp as an example of how far off their estimations can be with these things. They had no idea how many people were hunting pheasants until they introduced the stamp and then found out that it was far less than they thought. IMO, knowing the exact number of participants in each season will allow for better game management of all species from year to year. By separating each tag and selling them individually instead of all being included, the PGC will then be able to see the true numbers of who is hunting what species in what season.
On the revenue side, separating tags and charging separate fees for them should generate move money for the PGC because each tag will be an added fee above the general license. We already have archery stamps to know exactly how many archers we have, bear stamps to know how many bear hunters we have, muzzleloader stamp to know how many muzzy hunters we have, pheasant stamp, etc. Why not have people purchase their turkey tags separately to know exactly how many people are hunting turkeys in their respective seasons? Many states allocate turkey licenses like PA does doe licenses. They allocate a certain amount for each WMU or zone and people have to apply for them. Not saying that PA has to do that, but with the system that other states use, they have a solid grasp on exactly how many people are pursuing turkeys in any given year. And here’s the kicker, the “grab your popcorn” proposal if you will...buck tags should have to be purchased separately as well. *ducks*
I’ve been in support of a license fee increase for years so I have no issues with paying more, and believe me, I pay just about the max now with all that I hunt. (Archery, bear, muzzy, second spring turkey, migratory bird, pheasant, duck stamp, elk app). I could envision the licenses structured like this:
General license (allows the hunting of small game, groundhogs, coyotes, crows) Also a prerequisite to purchasing other tags. $25
Archery stamp $20-25
Bear tag $20-25
Fall turkey tag $10
Spring turkey tag $20
Second spring turkey tag $25
Muzzleloader stamp $20-25
Migratory bird $5
Buck tag $25-30
Doe tag $8-10
Pheasant stamp $25-30
Prices are just estimates of what they could or should be and I think they’d be fair. They could also have “sportsman’s licenses” like they used to do in New York and may be still do, where you can purchase multiple tags at once, at a discounted rate. I also believe they should offer 3 day, 5 day, 10 day non resident licenses as well.
I know that many will likely blow a gasket at something like this but I think it’s pretty fair. Having hunted in several other states and seeing what their residents pay to have less opportunities than we do, I feel that we have it pretty good here in PA and many people take it for granted.
Now here’s the kicker. The way I understand it, the legislature must approve all license fee increases that the PGC requests. The only way to generate more revenue is for the PGC to create a new stamp (like the second spring turkey or the pheasant stamp), as the legislature has no control over that. SO, could the PGC theoretically keep the “general” license fee the same at $20 and simply separate the fall and spring turkey tags and the buck tag and charge a separate fee for them and do an end around the legislature? Probably not but interesting nonetheless.
Tell me what you think.