Where The Money Goes

Do hunters and anglers really know who spends their license dollars? Not according to a recent survey conducted by the country’s foremost public opinion firm specializing in hunting, fishing and outdoor issues.

A majority of the 2,125 respondents to a recent Internet-based poll incorrectly believed that some or all of their hunting and fishing license dollars go to the state treasury to be spent on things like roads and education.

The poll--though decidedly unscientific in nature--was conducted by Florida-based Southwick Associates on its AnglerSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com Web sites. At the very least, it's somewhat disconcerting to think that most hunters and anglers aren't aware that laws specifically prohibit the use of license revenue for anything other than game and fish management.

Only 39 percent of responding anglers and 47 percent of hunters knew that 100 percent of all license dollars go to the state fish and wildlife agency. A total of 68 percent of anglers and hunters thought a portion of their license dollars goes into the state's general fund.

Southwick Associates' Rob Southwick notes that states must dedicate 100 percent of license revenues to fish and wildlife management or risk losing their share of federal fish and wildlife restoration excise tax revenues. In 2007, nearly $350 million was allocated for fisheries and $267 million for wildlife and hunter education.