Super Sport License

March 29, 2011 by  

Our Outdoors
By Nick Simonson

Many times I think back fondly to reading class in sixth grade at Jefferson Elementary School. My teacher, Mr. Horner, read us a number of exciting books, many with a coming-of-age story behind them, preparing us for our adventure into Junior High the following year. Among the titles was the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, in which a teenage boy, Brian, survives a single-engine plane crash in a remote part of Canada and is forced to live in the wild with a simple hatchet, a .22 rifle and what he can manage to find in the woods and waters around him. It’s a must read for any teenager, and especially for the young sportsman.
Super Sport LicenseEven with all the gear I have today – rifles, shotguns, fishing rods, my bow, tackle, GPS, and survival equipment – I sometimes doubt that I would carry on nearly as effectively as Brian did. I picture myself clad in a mix of camo and blaze orange, shouldering three guns, lugging tackleboxes, bogged down with boxes of shells and bullets, and tripping over my own rod tip as I stumbled my way through the forest. Paring down to what I would need to hunt or fish and start a fire would be difficult, as I enjoy so many new pastimes in the outdoors. And oftentimes, I’m just glad I have a place to drive home to at the end of a hunting or fishing trip and a bed to sleep in, instead of a hollowed-out tree as Brian did in Hatchet.
Luckily for the modern (and non-survivalist) sportsman, the calendar is broken down into successive seasons that allow us to stash our gear from one and break out our equipment for the next without missing a beat, and without having to lug around a bunch of different items. My wallet unfortunately doesn’t reflect this seasonal selectivity. Between the hunting and fishing I do over two different states, my billfold becomes the burdened tote, hauling a number of licenses for the wide variety of seasons I participate in across the map.
Last year alone, I purchased a Minnesota Sportsman’s License which included my fishing and small game licenses and I tacked on a trout stamp (which always seemed to remind me of the big steelhead I lost at my feet last spring). I also bought a North Dakota fishing license, small game license and pheasant hunting license. For autumn back east of the Red River, I paid for a pheasant stamp along with a deer bow license, a deer firearm license, and a bonus permit. The latter tags I didn’t even fill, and when recently checked by a conservation officer while ice fishing, I had to sort through them before getting down to the license he wanted to see.
“Time to clean out my wallet,” I stated to the C.O. as I tried in vain to re-cram the wad of blue papers back into my wallet. He was halfway across the lake on his snowmobile before I could get them stashed away just right. Arriving home the following day, I pulled out the previous year’s tags and unwrapped them from my still-valid fishing license and hunter’s safety certificate and tucked them into my memory book and made copies for my records. I wondered if there’d ever come a time where we could just get all of our licenses and tags on one printout, but I seriously doubted it.
My attitude changed last Tuesday at a meeting hosted by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agents and conservation officers detailing the proposed license fee increases needed to fund the agency and some new licensing options which would be available if the proposed changes were to become law. The presenters broke down the benefits for hard-core hunters and anglers like me of an item they called the Super Sport License which would provide nearly every tag and document a person would need to hunt and fish in Minnesota.
“I’m often in the field checking hunters, and when I ask for their pheasant stamp I have to make a judgment call when they go through their recently-issued licenses, come up empty and say ‘I didn’t know I needed one… when I asked the cashier to get me everything I needed to go hunting, this is all they gave me,’” the presenting Conservation Officer related.
The proposed Super Sport License would combine fishing and hunting licenses with a trout stamp, pheasant stamp, state duck hunting permit, and a firearms deer tag, which would cover the majority of hunting and angling activities most sportsmen pursue, all for 99 dollars. The only things required beyond the Super Sport License would be HIP registration and a federal duck stamp, and a deer archery tag, if a person pursues that niche. The Super Sport license would go a long way to help eliminate confusion in the field for both sportsmen and enforcement officers. It would also undoubtedly prevent George Costanza-like back strain from sitting on a wallet filled with way too many pieces of blue paper.
So, while I may never be as efficient of a survivalist as young Brian in the book, and my love of multiple fishing rods, various calibers of rifles and sizes of shotguns would prevent me from picking out just one of each to live off of for a year, there is hope. Should such a proposed license become available, I’ll be the first in line at the sporting goods store’s cash register to slap down a Benjamin Franklin in order to cover nearly all of my seasonal license needs in one fell swoop. And I will consider that a reasonable start to my paring down project and a super way to start lightening my load…in our outdoors.


2 Comments on "Super Sport License"

  1. Jim Erickson on Wed, 30th Mar 2011 8:25 pm 

    Nicely written little article ! Very enjoyable.


  2. Jim Erickson on Wed, 30th Mar 2011 8:27 pm 

    Great Website.

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