Three years ago I decided to splurge $270 for a Lifetime hunting/fishing license, despite my wife's prediction that I'd probably get hit by a train on my way home from the TWRA office with my new lifetime permit.
So far I'm dodged the trains, and my investment has paid off. When other 2013 licenses expire Feb. 28, I won't have to shell out the $136 I had been spending in previous years for a Sportsman's License.
The Lifetime License has been a great investment. It paid for itself the first two years. Now, even if I get run over by a train, I'll still come out ahead.
What's great about the Lifetime License -- in addition to financial savings -- is that it covers it covers everything from big-game hunting to trout fishing, and fees on TWRA-managed lakes from Marrowbone to Reelfoot. You don't have to bother with endless additional fees and permits.
To be honest, when I bought the license I figured there would be some hidden fees or additional costs. ("Oh, you want to fish for bluegill after 3 p.m. on Reelfoot? Then you'll need a supplemental Reelfoot Afternoon Bluegill Permit.")
That hasn't happened. The Lifetime License covers everything, as promised, for state-managed hunting and fishing. (Federal permits are required for migratory bird hunting.)
In addition to the Lifetime License and Sportsman's Licenses, a wide range of other licenses are available to fit every need and choice. My fishing buddy Bob Sherborne, for example, buys the basic $28 combination hunting/license.
That license covers most fishing and small-game hunting, although an additional license is required for trout, and permits are necessary for TWRA-managed lakes and some Wildlife Management Areas.
That's a deal that's hard to beat: a year of hunting and fishing for $28. You can hardly go to a movie for that nowadays, especially if you include popcorn and Milk Duds.
One of the TWRA's most popular licenses is the Lifetime License for youngsters under three. It costs only $200 for a lifetime of hunting and fishing. The licenses are popular as gifts from parents and grandparents -- a present that literally lasts a lifetime.
Various other Lifetime Licenses are available at graduated costs based on age. For a complete list of license options visit tnwildlife.org or check the Tennessee Trapping & Hunting Guide, available at most outdoors outlets.
For a 9th straight year there is no increase in license costs. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency should be commended for holding the line on licenses costs, despite a growing demand on its budget. (The Agency is user-supported, with no tax dollars.)
Frankly, I never minded shelling out money for a hunting/fishing license. It supports the TWRA, which manages the outdoors and promotes the activities I enjoy. I consider my license fee a good investment.
I also like the idea of people who use something paying for it. More government agencies should follow the TWRA's lead.
A hunting/fishing license is a great bargain, and an equally great investment in the outdoors.