If you were born in Arkansas and now live somewhere else, should you be able to hunt and fish on resident licenses?
If you live in Memphis and own a cabin on the Little Red River, should you be able to hunt and fish on resident licenses?
Most of us will answer “no” to these two questions, but they are issues under study by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Several other special case license issues are floating around too.
Edward Kimbrough addressed the commission at its monthly meeting Thursday in Little Rock and made a plea for what is being called the Native Son License. Kimbrough was born in Arkansas, owns property in Arkansas, pays taxes on that property and lives in Texas.
He made the point that college students and military personnel in Arkansas who come from other states can buy resident licenses. And he also said that only two other states, Louisiana and West Virginia, currently have something like Native Son Licenses.
Arkansas now gives free hunting and fishing licenses to military veterans who are fully disabled. It is fairly easy to accept the resident licenses for students and military people since they are living in Arkansas even if they may call some other place home and vote in that place.
The usual way residency is determined for hunting and fishing licenses is by driver’s licenses. Go to a Game and Fish office or Walmart or some other dealer and ask for a hunting license. The clerk will want to see your driver’s license. Plop a Texas driver’s license on the counter, and you’re going to be offered a nonresident and much higher priced Arkansas hunting license.
Officially, the rule is you have to live in Arkansas for 60 days to qualify for residency to buy hunting and fishing licenses.
Other states follow a similar pattern. The times I have gone out of state to hunt and fish, “Let me see your driver’s license” has been asked every time that I can recall.
There is a factor involved in hunting and fishing license sales that many folks don’t know. Federal funds come to Arkansas and other states on the basis of licenses sold. Free licenses don’t count when the feds are figuring how much to send states for wildlife and fish work.
This is the basis of reluctance to create any free licenses in Arkansas and in other states, particularly when legislators come up with various and sundry bills to give free licenses to one or another group.
When you compare one state’s hunting and fishing licenses to other states, you wind up with 50 different scenarios.
Arkansas is close to the bottom in price of resident licenses and fairly close to the bottom in price of nonresident licenses. That is thanks in a large part to the Conservation Sales Tax amendment that votes approved in 1996. There has been no change in our resident license prices since then – 17 years. Compare that factor to other states.
The prediction from this corner is that the Native Son License won’t get far with our Game and Fish Commission.