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Seniors lose wildlife license exemption

Staff writer

Norman Craft of Hillsboro already knew many Kansas seniors are losing their hunting and fishing license exemptions in January, and the 77-year-old deer hunter knew what he thought about it.

“I don’t approve of it,” Craft said.

A new state law raised the age for hunting and fishing license exemptions to 75, and created a new set of licenses for those between the ages of 65 and 74.

“Why should they? How many seniors are there that use that?” Craft asked.

Approximately 1,200 people in Marion County are 65 to 74 years old and would be subject to the new license fees, 2010 U.S. Census data reveals, but only a fraction of those residents hunt or fish.

Hunting and fishing equipment purchases include a federal excise tax. Kansas receives $16.15 back from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for each hunting license sold, and $8.31 for each fishing license.

Exemptions for those 65 and over results in lost revenues of $1.4 million annually for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. KDWPT estimates implementing senior licenses will have a short-term impact of adding $873,000 to their budget for wildlife and fisheries programs.

When informed of KDWPT’s rationale for raising the exemption age, Craft changed his mind about the move, but still had reservations.

“I wasn’t aware of all this other stuff,” Craft said. “Wildlife and parks are under great financial stress right now, they need the money to keep operating.

“If they live by it, it’s all right. But if they start taking the refund and putting it some other place I’m against it.”

A one-time purchase of a $40 lifetime senior hunting and fishing combination pass can be claimed by KDWPT for 18 years for federal reimbursement. Annual licenses for hunting or fishing will cost $9. An annual combination license will cost $18. All license purchases are subject to transaction fees.

Last modified July 18, 2012

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