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Scott Rall: Lifetime memories start with a single act


The Globe outdoors columnist

As I wiped the sweat from my forehead for about the 35th time that day, I told myself I would not complain about the heat.  It will be all too soon that the snow will make travel impossible. You very rarely get your truck stuck in 12 inches of heat.

So, I figured that I needed something outdoor-related to change my mood. Enough work was completed that day, so I decided that I would go purchase all of the necessary licenses for the upcoming hunting seasons.

I started this process about three years ago when I purchased a lifetime sportsman’s license.  It is a license that allows you to hunt small game and fish by angling in Minnesota for the rest of your life.  

The privilege continues even if I were to move out of the state. My son Brandon purchased one while he lived here and now he lives in Colorado.

If you are under 3 years old they cost $612. For ages 4-15 the cost is $833 and 16-50 is $1,046.  Once you make it to the ripe old age of 51 the cost goes down to $666.

The older you get, the less years you will live to use it. You can also buy a lifetime deer hunting license, angling-only lifetime licenses, small game-only lifetime licenses, lifetime spearing licenses and lifetime archery licenses.

My next lifetime purchase will be a lifetime spearing license for only $61. The annual cost is now $7, so if I live nine more years I will be in the money.

An annual deer license is in the $34 neck of the woods this year. The costs have gone up slowly in past years and are still the best value of anything I purchase.

You still need to purchase a pheasant stamp, a state duck stamp and a federal duck stamp if you want to hunt those species. They are not available to purchase on a lifetime method.

There is one other cost that is voluntary, but I think it’s pretty important and that is the walk-in access validation.  This cost $5 and it allows you to hunt on private lands that have been enrolled by the Minnesota DNR in to their walk-in access program.  

There are not a lot of acres in Nobles County, but the acres that do exist are very good cover and should hold your quarry if you decide to hunt on them.  The new conservation officer wrote a few tickets last season for hunters who occupied these lands and did not have the WIA certificate. The law has been around for at least five years, and law enforcement is finally starting to enforce the rules with citations.

Even with the lifetime sportsman’s license, all of my add-ons added up to $94.

It is still cheap when I think about all of the time I spend outdoors.  A good meal and a few drinks in a decent restaurant cost about the same amount.

Each year, you are supposed to go to a license vendor and update your lifetime license. The reason for that is that the state gets money from the Pittman-Robertson Act, which is a tax on guns and ammunition that is doled out to the states based on the number of hunting licenses that sell.  By updating my lifetime license, they get to count me as one more hunter for purposes of receiving these funds.

Have you ever considered purchasing one of these lifetime licenses for yourself, you son or daughter or even a grandchild? What kids do not need any more of in this day and age is more electronic devices.  They are already almost glued to them and their phones.

I think a gift of an outdoor fishing or hunting license is just the perfect gift. I often ask folks if they can name one present they got as a high school graduation gift that they still have.  I have never had anyone be able to tell me even one thing. I purchased a firearm for my Marine Corps.-bound son before he shipped out and I believe he will have until they day he dies -- and that his son or daughter will have it after that.

A lifetime license cannot span three generations but it can certainly last for one entire generation, and that is more than can be said for almost any other gift option.

As I read over the booklets that came with my license, I got a lift in my spirit as I wiped my forehead one more time. There will be a fall day with a light breeze and tall golden colored grass that will allow me to be in my most favorite place following a small pack of black Labradors who will be following their noses to the crafty rooster who is trying to outsmart us all.

Some of those roosters will beat me and my boys at this game of hide and seek, and others will go home in my game pouch.

Maybe getting a high score on a video game can produce a feeling of accomplishment; I just don’t think that memory can last a lifetime. I made that statement to some friends this last weekend.  The act of hunting and the stories that are told afterwards are almost exactly the same as the stories that were told by my dad to his hunting buddies more than 60 years ago.

Memories made outside can last a lifetime. Purchase your loved one a lifetime hunting or fishing license and then make the commitment to spend some time each season hunting or fishing with them, making your own stories that can be repeated for the next 60 years.