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    [RC] Re:Hunting Season-long - Tom & Vicky Smith

     There were some questions regarding how much revenue hunting licenses brought into the public coffers. Well, I just read an article in Michigan Out of Doors Magazine. There was a break down of the MDNR funding. The current annual budget is $257 million with $65 million coming from hunting/fishing licenses. That is a big chunk of change.
      Plus--an estimated $132.9 million of tax revenue is spent by hunters and anglers for their sports. That's just taxes not actual spending Hunters bring in BIG money in northern Michigan. This is a big deal around here.
       Now I have to write a letter to the Michigan Out of Doors because the hunters don't believe they are getting a fair shake. They believe that horseback riders and other public land users don't contribute anything. Well the MTRA not only contributes financially. They built the Shore to Shore Riding/Hiking Trail. The trail and horse camps on the trial are maintained by MTRA members. The wells, toilets, picket pole etc. are paid for with MTRA funding. Plus when the MTRA holds a ride, we still pay camping fees to the DNR. The MTRA had to repair a well at Gary Lake Camp this fall that was vandalized-----by an endurance rider. Yup, there were plenty of witnesses.
         A lot of folks don't contribute anything for their use of public lands. This includes horse people, mushroom hunters, hikers and others. But fighting about who has the right to be where doesn't help. Be proactive, go to meetings and write letters to people who can do something!
       I'll get off my soap-box now and stay out of the woods with my horse during the rifle deer season. Besides, I have to finish cutting and wrapping the venison from my husband's (who also rides) deer.
              Vicky Smith