Hunting licenses offer many happy returns
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Everyone wants to get more than they paid for, and no one is ever excited about paying taxes. With that in mind, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts can make a small investment with many happy returns.
What would you think if I said you could go to wildlife management areas to view, hunt or fish for all the wildlife and sportfish species that we have in our great state for pennies on the dollar? Most of us would take that deal in a second.
Mississippi hunting and fishing licenses are available for minimal costs. Additional financial support grows as outdoor enthusiasts purchase gear for hunting and fishing activities. Those purchases are good news for Mississippi. The Pittman-Robertson Act and the Dingell-Johnson Act return federal money to the state to obtain and manage habitats for fish, wildlife and recreational facilities on wildlife management areas and state reservoirs that all Mississippians can enjoy.
Here is how it works: Hunting and fishing license fees are tallied and reported to the U.S. Treasury. When hunters purchase guns, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing gear and motors, they pay a small excise tax that is collected by the government.
Based on total license sales and area of each state, funds are granted back to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to help it acquire land, build lakes and improve wildlife and fish habitats. These state lands and waters provide outdoor recreational excursions and facilities for everyone to enjoy. What’s not to love?
The U.S. Congress drafted and implemented these federal laws to enhance outdoor recreation and assist states with improving fish and wildlife resources to provide all Americans with outdoor recreational opportunities. Congressmen also have debated including an excise tax on bird seed, hummingbird feeders, and camping and hiking equipment. Including this equipment would increase the pool of funding available for management and maintenance of state lands for everyone -- hunters, anglers, cyclists, hikers and nature photographers.
We would all benefit from having more places to visit and enjoy the great outdoors. In addition, money spent on outdoor recreation, such as hunting, fishing, camping and bird watching, generates $2.9 billion in annual economic impact in Mississippi. These revenues are important to our state’s economy and benefit all of us, particularly those living in rural areas.
Editor’s Note: Extension Outdoors is a column authored by several different experts in the Mississippi State University Extension Service.