LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Gov. Mike Beebe last week signed legislation that allows retirees of the U.S. armed forces 60 and older to buy the Lifetime Combination (hunting and fishing) License from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for a one-time fee of $35.50.
House Bill 1477, sponsored by Rep. Randy Stewart of Kirby, Rep. John Catlett of Rover and Rep. Butch Wilkins of Bono, adds language to "An Act Concerning Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Licenses for Military Retirees and for Other Purposes."
The bill was filed Feb. 22, passed the House March 3 and passed the Senate March 14. The license will be available beginning May 20.
"This was an idea that the governor had," said Stewart, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. "The Yellow Ribbon Task Force has been studying various options for military veterans. The National Guard liked this as a recruiting and retention tool. People who may be thinking about retirement before they have 20 years may stay so that they take advantage of this opportunity."
Chief Master Sgt. Buddy Burns of the Air Force National Guard attended the signing in the governor's office at the Capitol. "I'm retiring in 10 months, so this means a lot to those of us who are close to retirement," said Burns, a lifelong Arkansas resident.
Arkansas law allows those 65 and older to buy the Lifetime Combination License for $35.50. Lifetime state trout and duck stamps are purchased one time after the age requirement has been met. Residents may buy the Nonexpiring Lifetime Resident Hunting and Fishing Sportsman's Permit for $1,000.