- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Keep an eye on a number of Virginia legislative bills that are sure to reduce your spendable income. Some of these bills are a done deal and only require Gov. Mark Warner’s signature. On the other hand, a few are definitely worthwhile and can actually save you a buck or two.

Here goes:

House Bill 536 will allow the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to establish an annual hunting stamp. The stamp will be required of anyone who hunts on lands leased by the department. The cost of the stamp will be the same as the cost of an annual resident hunting license, currently $12.

That’s a new tax any way you slice it, and it will double the license costs of those who make use of such public lands. The bill passed the Senate and now goes to Warner.

House Bill 301 would authorize the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to revise fees for hunting, trapping, fishing and motorboat registration through its own regulation process. The fees could not be changed more than once every three years, and any increase or decrease in a fee could not be for more than $5.

This bill passed the Senate and if Warner goes for it, I can guarantee you the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will raise fees faster than a runaway train. And as far as decreasing the license cost is concerned, dream on. It will never happen.

Senate Bill 198 would require any person licensed to hunt bear to also obtain a $4 bear damage stamp. The moneys collected from the stamp will be deposited into the newly created Bear Damage Stamp Fund. The fund would be used to compensate landowners for damages to their property caused by bears.

This bill will be carried over until the 2005 legislative session, but it will be tried again and eventually will cost you money.

On the good side, House Bill 1452 would establish a special combined fishing license for persons who want to fish in freshwater and saltwater. If a person purchased this license, there would be no need to buy the current individual freshwater or saltwater licenses. The cost of such a license would be $19.50 for residents and $37.50 for nonresidents. Of the $19.50 resident cost, $7 would be paid into the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund, $12 into the Game Protection Fund and 50 cents to a Virginia Marine Commission sales agent. This bill also would establish a trip license that allows persons to fish in all inland and tidal waters for five successive days.

The bill passed the Senate. It will now go to the governor for his consideration.

For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, visit the Virginia General Assembly Web site, www.legis.state.va.us. You also can contact the Assembly’s Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 800/889-0229.

Brauer keeps on winning — Former world champion bass angler Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Mo., won the Bassmaster Tour at Lake Eufaula, Ala., and a check for $101,500 on Sunday. Brauer, a veritable bass fishing legend on the pro tour, won the event by a mere 3 ounces over the nearest challenger, Idaho’s Bink Desaro. Brauer’s tournament bass total weighed 76 pounds, 14 ounces.

Though he was disappointed, Desaro had plenty of consolation. In addition to the $38,000 second-place purse, his final day’s catch of 24 pounds, 5 ounces was the largest of the day, earning him an additional $1,000. And if that weight holds out for the remainder of the tour and the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, Desaro will qualify for the $160,000 Busch Shootout Tournament on a mystery lake in September.

Desaro also earned an additional $1,000 from Purolator for bringing in a 7-4 lunker on the final day of competition.

Brauer credits a Strike King pro model jig with a 3X Chunk trailer for most of his tournament bass catches.

The top five finishers:

1. Denny Brauer, Camdenton, Mo., 76 lbs., 14 ozs. $101,500

2. Bink Desaro, Boise, Idaho, 76 lbs., 11 ozs. $40,000

3. Ben Matsubu, Hemphill, Texas, 72 lbs., 15 ozs. $25,000

4. Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 69 lbs., 15 ozs. $20,000

5. Ron Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 65 lbs., 5 ozs. $15,000

EVENTS

Galyan’s Adventure Tour 2004 — Saturday at Fair Lakes and Sunday at Washingtonian Center, at Galyan’s sporting goods stores, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. Paddle a kayak in a 16,000-gallon pool, take a mountain bike for a spin, master obstacles on the motorized scooter course, pitch a tent, or take a shot in the paintball range. It’s free. Information: 703/803-0300 Virginia, 301/947-0200 Maryland.

Flyfishing class — Sunday, 1 p.m., Davidsonville (Md.) Family Recreation Center. Learn all about equipment, flies and entomology and receive hands-on fly-casting instruction. The cost is free to club members, but nonmembers must pay $20. If you have your own fly-fishing rod and reel, bring it. Outfits will be available for casting. Information: Bob Smith, 410/544-4411, or Mike Price, 410/320-0080.

m East Coast Decoy Collectors meet — April 2-3, at Best Western in St. Michaels, Md. This seventh annual buy-sell-swap meet is an open door, room-to-room event that will be held no matter what the weather. Free decoy identification and appraisals. Information: Jim Trimble, 703/768-7264, or e-mail [email protected]

Eastern Shore fishing class — April 3, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Chesapeake College, Wye Mills, Md. Outdoors writers Keith Walters and Bill Burton will teach anglers where, when and how to find the Eastern Shore’s best fishing. The $49 cost includes lunch. To register, call the college’s Continuing Education Department, 410/822-5400.

Striper shore fishing contest — April 3, at Sandy Point State Park, near Annapolis. The Capital Longcasters sponsor this rockfish event on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. First place is guaranteed $500. All stripers must measure 18 inches or more. Registration ends March 31. Entry details at longcasters.org.

How to catch striped bass — April 10, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Chesapeake College, Wye Mills, Md. Learn rockfish techniques from trolling to chumming, casting to bait fishing. The $49 cost includes continental breakfast and lunch. To register, call the college’s Continuing Education Department, 410/822-5400.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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