Source: Sherman Publications

My Way
State declares open season on huntersí wallets

by CJ Carnacchio

September 25, 2013

One of my top three sources of stress relief is hunting.

I find the entire process relaxing, enjoyable and immensely rewarding.

Thereís nothing like sitting in a blind on a crisp, clear autumn morning, waiting for sunrise and listening as nature begins to come alive for another day.

Words cannot begin to describe the thrill I feel when a buck or a doe or a wild turkey comes into range.

My heart is pounding so hard it feels like itís going to burst through my chest as I raise my gun or crossbow to take my prey.

The moment of truth is here and itís accompanied by an adrenaline rush like no other. Itís all on me in that moment Ė no excuses. This is no time to over-think things like everything else in my life. This is the time to act. I pull the trigger and make it happen.

A feeling of complete and total satisfaction comes over me as I prepare the game for its final stop, which is either my freezer, my oven or my grill.

To hunt, kill and eat an animal is to become part of nature.

Iím not just some casual observer. Iím not somebody walking along a nature trail or snapping photos of wildlife. Iím an active participant in the natural world, taking my rightful place at the top of the food chain. It makes me feel alive.

This is what hunting means to me.

But now because of government Ė that which is most unnatural Ė Iím going to have to pay more for the experience I so dearly love beginning March 1, 2014.

The state is going to require me and every other hunter in Michigan to purchase a base license at a cost of $11. This will entitle us to hunt small game and purchase hunting licenses for other species.

I typically donít buy a small game license because I rarely engage in that type of hunting anymore.

But now, Iíll be forced to spend $11 for the privilege, whether I use it or not, just so I can purchase my deer and turkey licenses. Thatís not fair. Thatís not right.

Even if you just want to buy a single deer license, you wonít be able to do so without first shelling out $11 for this new base license. But wait, thereís more.

Deer licenses are going up in price as well, from $15 to $20 each. So now, that single deer license will cost $31, instead of $15, when you add in the required base license.

For you waterfowl hunters, the cost will increase from $5 to $12 per license, not including the federal fee.

The only good news was that turkey licenses will remain at $15 each. But Iím sure that will eventually change.

Iím surprised they havenít started charging for that crossbow stamp, which is required, but free. Iím sure that will change as well because there are too many new crossbow hunters just waiting to have their pockets picked.

As far as Iím concerned I already do more than my fair share to help fund the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). And I donít mind a bit because this agency has done a tremendous amount of fine conservation work that benefits not just sportsmen, but all citizens.

I spend a ton of money every year for hunting licenses.

Between spring and fall turkey licenses and all the various deer licenses, I typically spend between $105 and $120 annually for a total of seven to eight licenses.

And that doesnít include all the state sales taxes I pay during hunting season for ammunition, arrows, assorted gear, food and beverages, plus the extra gasoline taxes I pay because I head out into the woods about three to five times a week on average.

However, thanks to these license increases, Iíll be shelling out an additional $26 to $31, which is ridiculous.

The state claims the DNR will use all this extra money to enhance our hunting experience and make it ďworld classĒ Ė oh, how I loathe that term.

But frankly, my hunting experience is pretty darn good right now.

I donít need or want to pay more for it.

Almost every spring, I bag a Tom or Jake turkey and every fall, I shoot multiple turkeys and multiple deer.

No complaints here.

Life is good and my freezer is full.

These extra fees wonít do a bit to enhance my hunting experience.

All theyíll do is make me a little poorer, which is ultimately what government does best.

To government, itís always open season on the taxpayers and thereís no bag limit.

Much like smokers, hunters are being exploited by greedy government because our numbers are declining and the majority of people who donít engage in our activity could care less if weíre forced to pay more.

Humans are at the top of the food chain in nature, but in government, taxpayers are always at the bottom.