14 Wisconsin conservation groups asked legislators for targeted license increases

Larry Bonde, chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, announces that 14 Wisconsin conservation organizations have asked for targeted license increases to help offset the DNR funding crisis. Photo by Tim Eisele

Fourteen Wisconsin conservation organizations have asked the governor and legislators to raise costs of six licenses and stamps to help fund the shortage of funding at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Larry Bonde, chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, sent politicians a letter on behalf of the organizations requesting their help to offset the $4 million-plus gap in funding of the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Account.

This account is comprised of fees taken in from hunting, fishing, trapping licenses, fish and wildlife stamps, and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

The organizations are requesting to increase the following tags, stamps and licenses:

  •        Otter tag application fee from $3 to $8
  •        Bear tag application fee from $4.40 to $10
  •        State waterfowl stamp from $7 to $12
  •        Inland trout stamp from $10 to $15
  •        Great Lakes salmon/trout stamp from $10 to $15
  •        Archery and gun deer licenses from $24 to $27

The groups also ask that Great Lakes commercial fishing regulatory costs should no longer be funded by sportsmen’s dollars.  Instead, those costs should be funded by the commercial fishing industry.

The license increases alone would bring in an estimated $4.1 million.  And the total, including reducing commercial fishing charges, would result in $4.8 million for the Fish and Wildlife Account.

Bonde said this is “a targeted proposal” that will help provide for the future of outdoor activities that Wisconsinites enjoy.

The groups backing the proposal include:  Ducks Unlimited; Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishermen; Trout Unlimited; Ruffed Grouse Society; Quality Deer Management Association; Safari Club International Wisconsin, North East, Badgerland and South East Bow Chapters; Wisconsin Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever; and WI. Bear Hunters Association, Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association; and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Bonde broke the news at the Sporting Heritage Council meeting in Madison Feb. 2, saying the groups have been working on this proposal since last fall.

Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, who serves on the council, did not immediately support or oppose the proposal.  But he said his constituents would have concerns about the proposed increases if nothing is done over the problem of high predator numbers up north.


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