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Hunting License Fee Proposal

Discussion in 'Chesapeake Flyway Forum' started by sapidusandsuds, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. sapidusandsuds

    sapidusandsuds Senior Refuge Member

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    As promised, and in an attempt to further focus the conversation here, a new thread to provide more details about how we would use the new revenue and to help inform the conversation. This should be particularly timely because we were told today that the actual bill might clear the legislative drafting pile tomorrow.

    So, here's some of the work we do and the impacts of new vs. 'no new' revenue:

    The following projects are dependent on sound funding for WHS:

    1. AP Goose Management: The WHS provides funding for key surveys for migrant Canada geese. Without adequate funding, we would be unable to provide our required share of this funding, endangering our ability to confidently make sound management decisions on hunting seasons and bag limits for this iconic species.

    2. Waterfowl and Dove Banding: Maryland cooperates with other states to band mourning doves and waterfowl. Band recovery data feeds directly into the harvest management of these important game birds. A reduction in the number of banded birds would occur absent additional funding and would result in poorly-informed management decisions and the associated risks.

    3. Atlantic Flyway Coordination – Maryland’s input into important migratory game bird issues is facilitated by our participation in the Atlantic Flyway Council and Technical Section. This work would be eliminated or reduced without additional funding, compromising Maryland’s ability to influence and shape migratory game bird management.

    4. Early Succession Habitat Management on WMAs - Important habitat work for small game would be curtailed or eliminated without additional funding. This work is especially critical for bobwhites, whose populations have plummeted. Several key WMAs support regionally significant numbers of quail.

    5. Dove Field Management – Planting and managing fields for dove hunting is an expensive endeavor that many hunters can not afford. Public dove fields provide a place where all hunters can experience the thrill of dove hunting. Without additional funding, WHS will have to reduce or eliminate the number of public dove fields we currently provide.

    6. Phragmites Control – Phragmites is an aggressive wetland plant that reduces wetland diversity and productivity. WHS funds are used to control the spread of this plant on public wetlands and to cost-share with private landowners for control on private wetlands. Without additional funding this program will be eliminated or reduced. Wetland quality on public and private land would be expected to decline dramatically.

    This is just the game bird work . . . more to follow.

    Thanks -
    Paul
     
  2. muskrat25

    muskrat25 Elite Refuge Member

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    Paul, I appreciate the effort at 10 PM, I learned a little bit and look forward to more. But what I was hoping to see at some point (and don't expect you to have these numbers at home at your fingertips) is specific numbers:

    "We currently receive $XXX dollars for licenses, we expect to lose XYZ number of hunters, but the revenue should increase to $YYY. $YYY - $XXX = $???? (projected additional funds)

    Currently, with $XXX funding, we can only spend $GGG on dove fields. If we don't get more funding, we will have to eliminate some/most/all dove fields for next year. If we do get more funding, we can maintain/double/triple/quadruple the number of public food plots."




    Then at least we can digest what is being asked of us. On the private sector side we are probably dumping our dove plot for next year- too much money for one or two decent shoots, and that equals one less member spot we need to keep filled in this economy. Unlike our deer herd management, we can skip a couple years and still get right back into the game. DNR isn't going to give away the land for the plots; personally I don't think maintaining or expanding the public dove plots is a real compelling cause at this point in our economic history. Some may disagree, but without hearing the dollar amounts involved and how it fits into the big budget picture, there's no real way to assign a priority to it. And I say that even though, as noted above, I was considering hitting a public plot this fall. Oh, well.

    Small game management? Make the argument that the money spent pays dividends in providing opportunities that bolster recruitment/retention, and I'll get behind you. (Also, please PM with GPS locations of all known quail coveys for further research........)

    Cost share for phrag control on private land - my club appreciated the help, and then turned around and blew the money we saved on new carpet for the clubhouse. Nice program but at least part is a luxury on year five of a recession. (And sika deer love to eat and play in phrag, by the way.)

    Losing a seat at the table for the Atlantic Flyway Council sounds bad, but its not like there's going to give our chair to Idaho if its left vacant for a year or two. What's the bottom dollar, and what is the downside? I don't want Yellowdog out doing aerial surveys from a hang glider, but what are the numbers between where we are and where we need to be?

    Just throwing it out as a topic of discussion, respectfully. I have to answer these types of questions when I go to my taxpayers, via the County Commissioners, for a budget request. We all wish you could just hit up the GA for the money, but since they have written themselves out of the equation, and let off 95% of the taxpayers, you are coming to us. We are the ones that need to ask the tough questions, especially when the future size of our hunting population, and all the economic, political and cultural heritage that we all share, is potentially at stake.

    I look forward to hearing some more..... in the morning.
     
  3. drewsmith

    drewsmith Elite Refuge Member

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    State Dove Hunting - 60 acres on five pieces. I plant twice that for just 100 guys. I do it for $500 an acre and that includes ground rent. All but one of the state sites are free fire zone (no reservation/no management) and they are scary. Yes, it is expensive and people are willing to pay ($200-150) a day to do it. Maybe this is something that if it can't be done right it is not done at all.

    Delaware cut Phrag control out of the budget the year before the last license increase went into effect. The line item in the budget went from $400k to $15k.

    Due to factors far outside the states control, will upland birds ever actually come back to any sustainable numbers. I am not talking about ever hunting them, just something beyond a hobby. Many states have gone to a put and take stocking program with a stamp to offset the costs or flat out thrown in the flag.

    AP Geese? The single most effective tool in increasing the population was closing the season and that didn't cost anything. We were allowed to hammer them right up to the closure because we were counting what showed up, discounting the breeding numbers and never considering the "resident" concept or the micro flyways. Now that that understanding exists, how does the MD monies change or impact the AF outcomes. Very few hunters can seem to understand the distinctions in the split seasons on the western shore via band studies and the fact that PA and NJ continue with a three bird season. Frankly to the average person the more the issue is studied, the less clear it becomes.
     
  4. 7bartman

    7bartman Elite Refuge Member

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    Paul, like others have said thanks for taking the time to post here. Also like others have said it is much more informative to have actual numbers in the budget. Again, I've seen the comparision to other states and what their license costs vs. MD are, any idea on what those states get from their legislatures general fund?
    Just thinking off the cuff, but anyway it would be possible to have some private workdays/input on public land? For example allow hunters to help plant or restore native grasses to the Deal impoundment.
     
  5. john scanlon md

    john scanlon md Elite Refuge Member

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    Paul
    Again thank you very much for putting focus on this discussion and opening this thread. Regarding your topics 1-4 aren't there federal monies used to perform some of the tasks involving migratory bird issues? How much of these costs do these cover? How far does state and federal duck stamp money go toward these programs?
    Thanks
    Jack
     
  6. carolina girl

    carolina girl Elite Refuge Member

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    I sure hope there's something good in the "more to follow".
     
  7. jkryspin

    jkryspin Elite Refuge Member

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    Thanks for the details, Paul. Some of us greatly appreciate the work you do behind the scenes.
     
  8. carolina girl

    carolina girl Elite Refuge Member

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    How much is the DNR spending trying to eliminate Phrag?
     
  9. carolina girl

    carolina girl Elite Refuge Member

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    I not sure if I agree with DNR cost sharing anything with private landowners, before addressing public land issues first.
     
  10. oupa

    oupa Senior Refuge Member

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    What's the current number for licensed hunters in MD.? 2011 numbers.
     

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