Beginning in January 2010, California fishermen will be able to show support for their state's hard-working Department of Fish and Game wardens in a very tangible way. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed legislation that will help provide California's hard-pressed game wardens with some welcome relief. The legislation, AB 1442, will among other things allow the Department of Fish and Game to offer a "Warden's Stamp," generating funds for under-funded programs that help train and equip state wardens.
"California fishermen and hunters have long complained about the way Sacramento has treated wardens. Now we as sportsmen have the chance to put our money where our mouth is," said Tom Raftican of The Sportfishing Conservancy, one of the bill's sponsors. "With nearly two million licensed anglers in California, we can really get behind those folks who put their lives on the line protecting our great outdoors," he added.
The $5 stamp, which will be sold alongside hunting and fishing licenses, will be voluntary and will not generate pay directly for the wardens, but will help fund special equipment for them, help in their advanced training and provide some family benefits that the state no longer can afford.
"Anglers have persistently led the fight for conservation and wardens have tirelessly protected California's resources," said April Wakeman, programs director for The Sportfishing Conservancy. "Great fishing depends on great resources," she added.
The warden stamp will be an optional donation when sportsmen purchase hunting or fishing licenses beginning January 2010.