For the rest of his life, 15-year-old Chris Crossland will be able to fish for trout or smallmouth bass and hunt quail, rabbits and squirrels anywhere in Missouri without ever having to stop and think, "Did I get a license this year?" Chris received a Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit from his grandmother, Wanda Warner, for his birthday two years ago.
Chris says he was surprised, but glad, to receive the lifetime permit. "My dad told me I was getting a plastic card that cost a lot. It was the last thing I expected," he says. But he's glad to have it. "Now that the cost of licenses went up to $19, I won't have to pay it."
When he got the present, he was already an experienced hunter and fisherman. During his first year of deer hunting at age 11, Chris shot a doe and a 4-point buck. Each year since then he's been successful, including taking an 8-point buck with a gun and a button buck with a bow. He also hunts waterfowl and turkey with his father, uncle and two cousins.
Chris also takes advantage of the fishing privileges his lifetime permit brings him. "When I'm not hunting," Chris says, "I'm doing homework or fishing." In the creeks and ponds near his father's house in Richland, he likes to catch bass and catfish.
When Chris and Joy Arthur want to hunt or fish, all they have to do is step outside their front door. On their 40-acre farm in Henry County, the Arthurs can catch catfish in their pond or hunt quail in the former soybean fields they converted to native grasses. Nearby, Truman Lake and the surrounding Army Corps of Engineers' land offers numerous hunting and fishing opportunities for the couple.
Because they believe in supporting wildlife management, the Arthurs purchased Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permits. Now they can hunt small game and fish during any legal season for the rest of their lives. The permit also allows them to take migratory birds, waterfowl and trout. Deer and turkey permits, as well as federal waterfowl stamps, must still be purchased if desired.
"I would like to see more people buy these lifetime permits," Chris says. "It gives the Conservation Department more money to manage wildlife now." Chris and Joy proudly display on their mantel special Conservation Department certificates recognizing their support of Missouri's conservation programs.
Economics played a role in Eunice Bain's decision to purchase a Resident Lifetime Fishing Permit. A lifelong angler, Eunice started at age 2 when her parents took her fishing in St. Louis city parks. She purchased a lifetime permit when she was 30 years old because, at the time, she would net a savings of $125 over the 35 years she would need to purchase fishing and trout permits. Since then, permit prices have risen, so she will have an even greater savings. "The advantage of cost was there," Eunice says.
As part owner of Paul's Bait and Tackle in south St. Louis, Eunice doesn't get to go fishing as often as she would like. She's busiest during the prime fishing season, but during the fall or whenever she can slip away, she goes to Bennett Spring to fish for trout or perhaps to a pond to try to catch bass, bluegill or crappie.
She also likes the convenience of the plastic permit card that lifetime permit holders are issued. "I don't have to get my permit reissued each year," Eunice says, "and it's always in my wallet."
Matt Balentine, a student at William Jewell College in Kansas City, won't have to pay for his hunting and fishing licenses in the future, either, thanks to a high school graduation gift from his grandparents, C.O. and Katy Balentine of Drexel. For them, the Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit was the perfect gift for a grandson who loves to hunt and fish.
"I started fishing when I was 3-years-old with a Snoopy pole with a Tweety bobber," says Matt, who now practices the finer points of fly fishing. Growing up in Clinton near Truman Lake and spending time at his family's cabin on the Niangua River near Bennett Spring provided Matt with plenty of fishing experience. He also likes to hunt quail, pheasants, ducks and geese whenever possible.
Lifetime permits are available to Missouri residents only. To be a resident you must have had legal residence in Missouri for at least the past 30 days. Proof of residency, such as a photocopy of a valid Missouri driver's license, is required. For children under the age of 18, the parents' residency will be used.
Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, is required to successfully complete a hunter education course before obtaining a firearms hunting permit in Missouri. Lifetime hunting permits can be purchased for children of any age, but they will not be valid until the permittees successfully complete a hunter education course after their 11th birthday.
Applicants age 11 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must provide on the application form their hunter education certification number and include a photocopy of their hunter education certification card.
Being a psychology major on a music scholarship keeps Matt busy, but he and his roommate, Randy Thomassy, fish off the dam at Longview Lake or in ponds near the college whenever they get a chance. Matt may not have much time to use his permit until he graduates, but it will provide him with a convenient way to go hunting and fishing throughout his lifetime. Even if he gets a job in another state after college, his permit will be valid when he comes back to Missouri to hunt or fish.
Three types of lifetime permits are available: Resident Lifetime Small Game Hunting Permit for $400, Resident Lifetime Fishing Permit for $400, and Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit for $800, which includes the privileges of small game hunting and fishing. In addition, all lifetime permit holders receive a brass card engraved with their name, date of birth and permit number, a certificate recognizing their support of conservation, a durable plastic permit card to carry in the field and special mailings to keep them updated on seasons, regulation changes and other information.
If you would like to help conservation efforts by purchasing a lifetime permit, call the Missouri Department of Conservation headquarters for an application at (573) 751-4115. Or write to Lifetime Permits, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.
Editor - Tom Cwynar
Assistant Editor - Charlotte Overby
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer