Wildlife Funding & Entitlements

Continuing with our educational snippets, two entities that in my eyes are good candidates for elimination as unnecessary in this day and age are the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners and the County Advisory Boards to Manage Wildlife. They are a product of decades ago….an unfortunate historical “accident”…when lawmakers thought it would be a good idea to make wildllfe management a user-fee based system, thereby eliminating the need to provide general fund tax dollars to fish and game agencies. While that idea may have had merit, given the tenor and nature of the times, it is now, in my view, more trouble that it is worth. Sportsmen….and their hunting license purchases…are in the decline over past decades. Funding for fish and game agencies comes increasingly from other sources (at least here in Nevada). Sportsmen license and tag sales provide…maybe..30% or so of the annual budget of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. We’ll discuss other sources of funding later.

The problem this system has produced is a sense of “entitlement” among some sportsmen who overlook the fact that wildlife is a public asset (see NRS 501.100) and appear to favor the view that they “pay” for wildlife. Therefore they are “entitled” to be in charge…as they are with 5 of the 9 seats on the wildlife commission designated for them, 2 more for a rancher and farmer who are mostly indistinguishable from sportsmen at least as to their votes on issues of concern to us. That leaves 1 seat for a member of the General Public which, until a couple of years ago, had always been filled by a sportsman or sympathizer, and a “conservationist”. Not very “democratic” and in violation of one of the sacred “Sisters” of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which sportsmen like to tout.