Proposed license fee increases under review

By Bill
Parker

Editor

Lansing – Bills that would gradually increase the cost of
hunting and fishing licenses in Michigan over the next six years
have been introduced in the state Legislature. License fee
increases cannot be mandated by the DNR and must be approved by the
Legislature.

HB 4624, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gillard, D-Alpena, would
increase the fees for hunting licenses, while SB 406, sponsored by
Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, would increase fees for fishing
licenses. Both bills have been referred to the appropriations
committees of the respective chambers.

The proposed hunting license increases would begin this year,
and the fishing license increases would begin in 2008. Increases
would be phased in gradually over four years, and a 5-percent
inflationary increase would kick in during the fifth and sixth
years.

Nonresident license increases would take effect the first year
of the increase and would not be phased in. In addition, junior
licenses for those ages 10-16 would be discounted 50 percent.

Hunters who have already purchased a 2007 license would not have
to pay the difference if the legislation becomes law.

Stagnant and declining license sales and a significant loss of
General Fund revenue from the state has left the DNR with financial
woes, officials say.

Revenue raised from license sales goes directly into the Game
and Fish Protection Fund, a restricted fund that is used solely for
fish and wildlife conservation work.

According to the DNR, without an increase it faces an $8 million
deficit in the Game and Fish Protection Fund in 2008, and upwards
of a $40 million deficit by 2010.

‘As General Fund support for the department has been reduced
over the last several years, we have been forced to look at license
fee increases so that we can continue the work we do to provide
high quality hunting and fishing experiences that hunters and
anglers have come to expect in Michigan,’ DNR Director Rebecca
Humphries stated in a press release. ‘These increases will allow
the DNR to maintain its current level of service.’

Hunting licenses

Small game: Under the proposed legislation, resident small game
licenses would increase to $16.25 in 2007; $17.50 in 2008; $18.75
in 2009; and $20 in 2010. A nonresident license would cost
$100.

Turkey: For spring and fall turkey hunters, an application fee
would increase to $5 and license fees would increase to $18.75 in
2007; $22.50 in ‘08; $26.25 in ‘09 and $30 in 2010. A nonresident
turkey license would cost $140.

Waterfowl: A state waterfowl stamp would increase from $5 to
$6.25 in ‘07; $7.50 in ‘08; $8.75 in ‘09; and $10 in 2010. Daily
and annual managed waterfowl area permits would see similar price
increases, with daily fees topping out at $7 in 2010 and annual
fees topping out at $20 in 2010.

Deer: Fees for firearms and archery deer-hunting licenses would
be increased under the legislation, with the second tag costing
slightly more than the first.

The first firearms or archery license would cost $18.75 in 2007;
$22.50 in ‘08; $26.25 in ‘09; and $30 in 2010. A nonresident
license would cost $165.

A second firearms or archery license would increase to $22.50 in
2007; $30 in ‘08; $37.50 in ‘09; and $45 in 2010. A second
nonresident license would cost $165.

The fee for a resident combination deer license would be the
total of the resident firearms deer license plus the cost of a
second resident archery license. A combo license would jump to
$41.25 in 2007; $52.50 in 2008; $63.75 in 2009; and $75 in
2010.

The legislation calls for a $5 application fee for limited quota
antlerless permits. The license fee for antlerless permits would
increase to $18.75 this fall; $22.50 in 2008; $26.25 in 2009; and
$30 in 2010. Nonresidents would pay $100.

Bear: Bear licenses would increase to $23.75 in 2007; $32.50 in
‘08; $41.25 in ‘09; and $50 beginning in 2010. The application fee
would be $5, and a nonresident license would cost $300.

Elk: Elk licenses would increase to $125 in 2007; $150 in ‘08;
$175 in ‘09; and $200 in 2010. The application fee would increase
to $5.

Fur Harvester: A fur-harvester license would increase to $16.25
in 2007; $17.50 in 2008; $18.75 in 2009; and $20 in 2010. 

Fishing licenses

The age requirement for a fishing license would begin at age 16
instead of age 17 under the proposed legislation. In addition, a
resident restricted license would remain $15 in 2007; jump to
$16.25 in ‘08; $17.50 in ‘09; $18.75 in 2010 and $20 in 2011. A
nonresident license would cost $40.

All-species fishing licenses would remain $28 for 2007; jump to
$31 in 2008; $34 in ‘09; $37 in ‘10 and $40 in ‘11. A nonresident
all-species license would cost $80.

There would be increases for 24-hour licenses and the
establishment of a 72-hour fishing licenses.

Senior discount

Under the proposed legislation, seniors age 65 or older could
obtain a discounted senior restricted fishing license, all-species
fishing license, small-game license, firearms deer license, archery
deer license, bear license, turkey-hunting license, or
fur-harvester license.

The fee for each senior license would be discounted 60 percent
from the fee for the resident license through 2009. In 2010,
seniors would receive a 55 percent discount; in 2011, a 50 percent
discount; in 2012, a 45-percent discount; and in 2013, a 40 percent
discount.

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