Turkey stamp effort dies in Legislature

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

By Hunter Cloud
The Daily Leader

Mississippi legislators had an opportunity to fund the future of turkey conservation in Mississippi by passing a bill that would have required hunters to buy a turkey stamp.

Neither the House nor Senate bill creating a wild turkey stamp survived conference after both chambers overwhelmingly passed the legislation. 

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Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks commissioners had asked the legislature to pass a turkey stamp bill at the request of the turkey program. Stamps would have generated funds to be allocated solely to wild turkey research, habitat improvement and tagging. 

The House version of the bill stated that lifetime license holders would be exempt from purchasing a wild turkey stamp, residents would be charged $10 for turkey stamps and non-residents would be charged $100 for turkey stamps. 

The Senate version would have charged non-residents $200 and not charge residents. Both measures died in conference and are done this session. 

Rep. Bill Kinkade, chairman of the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks committee, said the legislation was fine but politics ultimately got in the way. He said the Senate conferees agreed to the House bill conference report, signed it and he then went and passed the report in the House. 

“A turkey stamp was something I worked hard on. Those boys in the Senate are good boys. I don’t mind working with them but I need to know upfront. They tried to change it to a Senate bill after the fact. If they had told me beforehand I would have said yes by all means. I can’t go back to the House and tell them we will make it a Senate bill,” Kinkade said.