After felons leave prison, in addition to finding a job, many like to return to activities that they once enjoyed. For some, this is hunting for which they are allowed to own a weapon such as a crossbow. For others, it might be fishing.
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the United States. More than 33,000,000 people fish annually. In 2015, there were more than 28,000,000 fishing licenses purchased.
A fishing license is required by law in order to fish.
This blog post will address the question of whether a felon can buy a fishing license.
- Why a Fishing License?
- How Much Does a Fishing License Cost?
- Types of Licenses
- Consequences of Not Having a License
- Fishing Without a License Anyway?
- Doing the Right Thing
Why a Fishing License?
A fishing license is a permit to allow for catching fish recreationally or commercially.
A fishing license has been required in the U.S. since the early 1900s during the time of President Theodore Roosevelt’s term in office.
There are several reasons why a fishing license is required:
- Easily identifies to wildlife officials those who are fishing legally and following the rules
- Protects the fishing population by regulating the number of people allowed to fish and establishing rules for fishing
- Limits the types and numbers of fish a fisherman is allowed each day
- Provides essential information regarding regulations for a fisherman while fishing
How Much Does a Fishing License Cost?
The cost of a fishing license is typically $30 to $40 with the money generated by selling fishing licenses to help conservation efforts in protecting fish populations.
Money from the sale of fishing licenses helps maintain fish stock in ponds, lakes, and rivers.
It also goes forward creating and maintaining healthier waterways.
Educational programs for new fishermen are paid for by license sales.
Fishing access is improved through funds obtained from fishing licenses.
Types of Licenses
Some type of fishing license is required in all states, although specific rules vary according to the state.
Even the type of fishing license differs from one state to another.
A fishing license is required for freshwater and saltwater fishing with different licenses for each one of these.
In some states like Maine, all fishermen must apply for a freshwater license. If they want to fish offshore, they would need a saltwater permit in addition.
Some states combine all types of fishing in one license.
For example, in California a fishing license is not required to fish on a public pier.
Some states have different licenses for different groups. Veterans, senior citizens, and other groups may qualify for a free fishing license.
A fishing license can be purchased online in each state through the Fish and Wildlife Department.
Additionally, a license can be purchased at stores selling fishing equipment or at some government locations.
Consequences of Not Having a License
Fishing without a license is generally considered to be a Class A or B misdemeanor, meaning legal advice will be needed. Punishment for this violation is usually a fine, which varies according to the state but can easily be the cost of the license plus a fee, often $50.
Typically, an individual fishing without a license will be issued a citation for a Class A misdemeanor and ordered to appear in court and possibly be indicted. Paying the fine within 30 days will eliminate a court appearance.
Anyone not paying the fine can have the charge increased to a Class B misdemeanor and a higher fine plus possible jail time, usually up to 60 days.
For felons who are already in the situation of any act of breaking the law and resulting in jail time and a possible return to prison, it isn’t worth the risk.
While this is true for any felon, those still on probation would be in violation of those terms. This could result in a return to prison.
Fishing Without a License Anyway?
Why not fish without a license? Out on a lake, river, pond, or anywhere else, who would know?
There are reasons for anyone, especially felons, to comply with having a fishing license.
First, felons who have completed their sentence are starting over and usually have committed to living an honest life. Fishing without a license is inconsistent with this new life they want to lead.
It is a matter of integrity, which felons are usually not noted for anyway. This goes against that principle and is just another step in returning to a life of crime and returning to prison.
For felons especially this is quite serious.
It is not worth the risk.
Doing the Right Thing
For felons who are accustomed to fishing, it can be tempting to enjoy a previous activity again. They are not necessarily trying to break the law. If a law has been violated, legal representation can be found.
It isn’t that expensive to buy a fishing license. It can be far costlier to break the law, earn a misdemeanor charge, and place themselves at risk for further legal problems.
Felons shouldn’t be defined by their crime but enjoy fishing the right way.
Don’t be one of the 2/3 returning to prison within the first two years after their release.
Families of such felons can encourage them to obey the law and not fish without a license. It is a part of learning to live an honest life.
So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felon can buy a fishing license? Have you or someone you know bought a fishing license? What was that like and were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.