My complaint is not cost as much as principal. It is the fact that a landowner with less than 80 acres is now viewed as not worthy of the same no-cost permit next year that I was worthy of this year, just because I don't have land enough to meet their idea of the "worthy."
Even Kansas charges ALL landowners for permits. To me it is now saying that only landowners with 80 acres should have free permits. Why not simply remove the distinction and charge ALL landowners, regardless of numbers of acres? All the MDC wants is more money so why not just drop the pretense and charge every person that is a resident, landowner or not, the same permit price? I have seen farms on four acres and I have seen untouched tracks that are larger than 80 acres yet the free tags are supposedly for "farms" and "farmers."
As for out of state hunters, I think the fee should be closer to $400 if not $500 for antlered deer hunting with a $300 per deer doe permit.
What I thought made Missouri nice, at least when it came to hunting, was that most landowners enjoyed an extra reward for building wildlife habitat, farmer or not. Now I see that with the move to trophy deer management being the new paradigm we need to change with the times. So be it.
I can understand the principle thing and I can get behind you on that. I would not have a problem either way, either charge all landowners or don't charge all landowners. There has to be an acreage distinction though, otherwise every Missouri homeowner would be entitled to free tags. I think it used to be five acres, and to me that seems reasonable.
But a landowner is a landowner - and I don't think I should be penalized because I chose to settle down three miles west of the Missouri state line and my brother chose to settle down one mile east of the Kansas line. We both own Missoui land - I suppose if I was less than honest I could use his address, or I could use my daughters address and get the free tags, but that wouldn't be right. And I really don't mind giving MDC the money, it's just a brother thing.
As for high out of state hunter fees - that would encourage only trophy hunters to hunt the state. And given the boost to the Missouri economy out of state hunters bring, I doubt it would serve the state well.
Times do change - I remember as a kid walking out my back door, down the railroad tracks and having 1000's of acres to hunt - the farmers didn't care. Now most of those same lands are off limits and I've even seen some of them on TV shows. Good or bad, those are the times in which we live and we just have to deal with them.