June 9-- As a hunter, angler or other outdoor enthusiast, you invest your time and your money in Georgia. Your purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and related equipment make it possible for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to manage public hunting and fishing areas, conduct research, manage habitat, raise and stock millions of fish and more.
There is a demand and a desire from citizens that DNR do more. DNR continues to see an increase in requests for more hunting and fishing opportunities while continuing to provide quality recreational experiences. However, stagnant license revenues have limited the short and long-term ability to respond to customer demands. The survey results so far have been in support for simplification of the current license structure and in favor of raising license prices as long as the funds go directly to wildlife.
So, what are some options? Further expansion of efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate of hunters, anglers and shooters; simplification of the license structure system to maximize funding from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs; and adjustment of current license costs. Resident license fees have not changed in 23 years and are well below the national average.
To begin gauging interest in these options, the public is invited to attend an upcoming open forum in Baxley at Baxley City Hall (City Council Meeting Room, 282 East Parker Street, Baxley, GA 31513). DNR staff members will be available to share information and answer questions Tuesday, June 16 between 3-5 pm and 7-9 pm.
Public input is important when considering any changes; these opportunities will provide interested citizens a chance to hear more about the opportunities for potential changes, and to ask questions and provide thoughtful feedback.
In total, seven public forums are scheduled. For those unable to attend any of these events, there are still opportunities to participate! Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/aimforsuccess to provide electronic comments and take our survey. Written comments may be sent to: License Restructure, Wildlife Resources Division, 2070 US Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025. The initial comment period will close July 6.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources wishes to thank the following sponsors for their help in providing these forum opportunities: Coastal Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited, Flint Riverkeeper, Georgia Hunting & Fishing Federation, Georgia Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, T.E.R.N. (The Environmental Resources Network), GA Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and Trout Unlimited.
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/aimforsuccess.