When I entered my so-called Golden Age, very reluctantly, I figured that at least there would be one nice perk. No fishing license needed from then on.

But some perks should end, and the age-65 fishing license exemption is one free ride that we can drop, voluntarily.

Let’s buy a license as an investment in the outdoors we cherish. Think of it as not a burden but a bargain.

The money you pay for a license comes back to you in all sorts of benefits, including fishing improvements certainly but also extending to vital research, facilities development, management, fish stocking, artificial reefs and important outreach programs.

That’s why Florida Sportsman is glad to be a partner in a new “I Do” license campaign conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Wildlife Foundation of Florida and other key supporters.

Own your license with pride. I do and I did.

Even if you don’t fish (a lamentable state) come on aboard to support activities like hiking, kayaking, birding or just snoozing in the shade of a well managed waterway or

The best time for you to become a citizen partner in the “I Do” effort is…right now.

Just call tollfree, 1-888-347-4356.

Or you can get licensed online at FWC fishing licenses, or at your sporting goods outlet or tax collector’s office.

There are a number of options for various categories. Whatever you choose, you’ll be pitching in as a true stakeholder.

And you’ll bring in federal bonus money on top of your state-level payment. This is excise tax revenue that goes to the states largely on the basis of how many license holders they have. On average a Florida license catches about $8 extra from Uncle Sam’s coffers. That’s helpful funding that otherwise is sent elsewhere. Let’s bring it here instead.

A number of states, by the way, capture that bonus funding by requiring licenses for seniors. Texas is one of the biggies that licenses seniors, at substantial discounts.

Kids can play the license game, too. They’re legally exempt under age 16. But here again they can buy a license ahead of time to support their outdoor recreation, making a one-time payment that runs to age 17. The junior program also qualifies for bringing in the federal excise tax money.

Also, we should mention that the “I Do” campaign targets many typical anglers who fail to have current licenses for one reason or another. (I recall fishing inadvertently for a time with an expired license.)

So, license up, outdoors folks.

We can go perkless.

Karl Wickstrom

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