As a fisherman, am I biased when I first saw the idea of giving veterans free hunting and fishing licenses? Absolutely. I believe lawmakers have finally come up with a quality idea with this one.

The " Heroes Bill", known today as House Bill 1374 needs to get pass the Appropriations Committee, then a House vote, Senate committees, a Senate vote, and other political red tape. For me, whatever it takes to get it done, needs to get done. This is more than saving vets some money on licenses. I could very well save their life.

Getty Images
Getty Images

I've not experienced the horror or war. I have experienced the therapeutic effects of fishing and being out on the water. There is nothing more relaxing than wading a stream, making a cast from the front deck of a bass boat, or watching a cork from a pond bank. The mental health benefits alone are enough to pass this bill.

Two lawmakers want to give veterans a lifetime pass to hunt and fish. Democratic Reps. Jessie Danielson and Barbara McLachlan got the Colorado Heroes Hunting and Fishing Act going. It's made its way through committees but it still has a long way to go before becoming law.

Most folks are for honoring the military. Problem is, it's not cheap. Estimates give the cost at around $1.6 million a year. That's according to a legislative report on the bill between licenses that aren't won't be purchased and the federal matching money for outdoors programs.

The Division of Colorado Parks and Wildlife is already underfunded. Because of inflation and the recession, the agency has cut $40 million and 50 full-time positions from its budget.

We'll see how things play out. Adding additional financial strain to an already cash-strapped CP&W may not seem like a good idea. However, giving the outdoors to those who have given us so much seems worth it to me.

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