Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sportsmen raised their voice (and were heard)

Ohio’s sportsmen were heard collectively and the state legislature acted accordingly.

With the recent passage of the nearly $51 billion state budget, gone were the odious references to the theft of money from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Gone (for now anyway) is the provision to grant free licenses to Ohio National Guard members,

Other provisions included one that would give free hunting and fishing licenses to out-of-state sportsmen who own land in Ohio. The proposal also would grant free licenses to the grandchildren of these nonresidents.

And another one would complicate plans for the future recording of harvested deer and turkeys.

“The bottom line is that they were all taken out. We’re definitely glad that the division didn’t have to take a $2 million (annual) hit,” said Rob Sexton of the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Clearly it was the help of organized sportsmen that helped make the difference, Sexton said.

“We worked the phones to key decision-makers. We and the Natural Resources Department also made contacts with the legislators. That always makes the difference,” Sexton said.

Flexing one's political might should never be done lightly but in this case the risk of $2 million annually in sportsmen's funds was just was to much to tolerate.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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