Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

I’ve been checking for the past few weeks and finally it has arrived – things that elected officials think should be new laws.

Our schools still need help, but it seems we also need airbows, landowner outfitter licenses and game wardens to stay off our private property. It’s time to make new laws in the great state of Oklahoma, and the legislation tracker on the wildlife department’s webpage is full of new and familiar proposals.

A new version of the lifetime landowner hunting license has appeared in Senate. SB 982, introduced by Sen. Casey Murdock (R-Felt), proposes a new legacy landowner lifetime combined hunting and fishing license for $20,000 for those who own 500 to 1,000 acres and $30,000 for those with 1,000 acres or more. That investment will buy you a license that lasts 50 years.

For those who pay $20,000 you get 20 combined licenses for your land each calendar year to hand out as you please as long as you keep a log. For those who pay $30,000 you will get 40 combined licenses each year.

The license is proposed to terminate upon sale of property, but can be bequeathed through a properly executed will. The license can also remain valid if the landowner purchases adjoining land.

While the proposed legislation is far from the lifetime landowner license proposition of 2018, it carries a similar focus. It’s legislation that allows owners of large tracts to become their own outfitter. They sell the licenses to both in and out-of state hunters and the wildlife department is provided a yearly report for the one-time fee.

Last I checked, the wildlife department just launched and excellent new app that allows hunters to purchase licenses easily from their smart phone.

The math also doesn’t add up because if landowners sold 20 licenses a year for $200 for 50 years, that’s $200,000. Even if they sold them for $50, the potential revenue is $50,000. How does the wildlife department benefit even if landowners don’t recoup their investment?

Senate bill 563, introduced by Senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow), seeks to legalize, “The use of airbows that use a pneumatic device to propel an arrow…” I didn’t even know you could get an airbow or that anyone made one, let alone the possibly being able to use one to hunt with.

It makes you start to wonder how the concept of drawing a bow and releasing an arrow has turned into what are essentially gun-bows. It’s similar to the concept of allowing muzzleloader cartridges and eliminating the need to actually load the gun down the muzzle.

The ability for game wardens to enter private property may also change with proposed legislation. SB 567, introduced by Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), proposes to make law that, “Unless otherwise requested by a property owner, lessee, or tenant, a game warden shall not enter a private property on the suspicion of the possible possession or discharge of a firearm or bow.

It’s further proposed that, “Suspicion of the possible possession or discharge of a firearm or bow shall not constitute probable cause for a game warden to enter a private property.”

Other legislation has proposed to create a lifetime non-resident combined hunting and fishing license. It would come with a hefty price tag at $7,500.

It’s always interesting to see what new legislation is proposed each year, and this one is no different. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.

Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at jkocan@stwnewspress.com.

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