Cash-Strapped Calif County Goes After Duck Hunters

As hunters we already pay more than our fair share to preserve publicly owned properties. We spend millions of dollars on licenses and assorted conservation stamps to preserve public lands, while hikers, campers, birdwatchers and more get to enjoy our woods and wetlands free of charge.

And so it's doubly frustrating when local and state governments—cash-strapped by a brutal economy and by their own financial mismanagement—attempt to squeeze a few more bucks out of us.

Take Stanislaus County, Calif. Rather than cut county spending, it's found a way to bring in an extra $1 million during the next fiscal year. Get ready, duck hunters, you're footing the bill. By unanimous approval, county officials raised the annual duck-blind registration fee by one-third, from $300 to $400. It also imposed a $100 monthly mooring fee and $35 dry storage fee for boats at two reservoirs, which could no doubt affect a few sportsmen. A new $100 permit was also introduced to hunt deer or feral pigs.

Attempts by government to further impose fees on the American hunter must be closely monitored. The rising cost of hunting has been found to be a barrier to hunter retention, and if various levels of government think they're feeling the pinch now, just think if hunters quit buying licenses.

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