The news from the Department of Environmental Conservation that all sporting license fees will be increased for the 2009-2010 season had a predictable result with many complaining that DEC has done little in recent years to warrant charging higher fees. Of course in fairness to DEC, the last increase was back in 2002, and obviously costs have risen sharply since then.
The announced fee increases had another effect – a rush by older resident sportsmen and women to purchase lifetime sportsman licenses prior to September 30, before the new fee rates go into effect on October 1, 2009.
There’s currently a good opportunity for seniors to take advantage of a lifetime sportsman license before the Sept. 30 cutoff date. The Sportsman license, which combines fishing, small game and big game hunting, is currently the best bargain for those aged 65-69. Bought now, that resident Senior (age 65 and older) lifetime license is $50. After Oct. 1, that age group will be changed to pay $765, the same as all those in the12-69 year-old grouping.
The new fee structure raises the minimum age for senior licenses from 65 to 70. At age 70 or older the license fee drops to $65. For those 65 and older, the Senior Lifetime Sportsman License will only remain $50 until Sept. 30, after which the age requirement for the same license becomes 70 and the cost will go up to $65. The oddity is the new lifetime license fee of $765 is the same for anyone age12-69 years old. That’s a big jump and a wide age spread.