If I were better at math, I could tell you to the penny how much it costs to hunt and fish for a year in Tennessee.
But since I’m not, let’s just say it’s a great bargain at 365 days for $34.
That’s the cost of a standard hunting and fishing license for a Tennessee resident.
And, as licenses expire Feb. 28, there are even better deals. A junior license is available for children 15 and younger for $10, and an annual senior license costs a mere $5. A permanent senior license costs $50. There are discounted licenses for the disabled.
Additional permits may be required for big game hunting or hunting and fishing on wildlife management areas.
I used to buy the annual sportsman license, which covered most everything. It cost $138 at the time. It’s currently $166, but that’s still a bargain.
Even better, a few years ago, I bought a lifetime license, which will last, well, a lifetime. There are no more annual renewals.
Lifetime licenses come in six price ranges, depending on age, from $200 for children 3 and younger to a maximum of $1,976 for 13-50 year olds.
The $200 lifetime license for children sounds almost too good to be true. If a child receives a lifetime license as a gift, he or she will never have to buy another license. Since license sales provide the bulk of revenue for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, it seems the agency might offer a good deal at the present while it creates fiscal problems for the future.
But I assume smarter people than I have crunched the numbers, so for $200, a Tennessee child can hunt and fish for a lifetime. Most people spend more than that on a video game console.
A few years ago, the TWRA had its first license increase in decades, and I heard some grousing. Personally, I didn’t mind paying a bit more – we get a great return for our investment.
How can you beat $34 for a year of hunting and fishing? You can’t go to a movie for that price if you include popcorn.
In return, fishermen get to use boat ramps, boat docks, parking lots and fishing piers built, maintained and supervised by the TWRA, as they fish for species often stocked by the agency. Hunters can hunt small game on private land, benefitting from the TWRA’s management.
For big game hunters, there wouldn’t be any big game to hunt without the agency. It restored the state’s deer and turkey populations through stocking and good management.
As TWRA executive director Bobby Wilson said, “the good old days” for hunters and fishermen are right now, and license sales make them possible.