St. Paul – The prices of fishing and hunting licenses would go
up, but sportsmen also would have more licensing options, under the
state budget proposal Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled Tuesday
DNR officials for some time have explored the possibility of
fishing and hunting license fee increases, but they’ve insisted any
increases should be part of a larger restructuring.
“This isn’t the standard ‘let’s just increase everything by 20
percent,'” said Ed Boggess, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division
director. “This is trying to create some different structure to
allow the less avid anglers, families, or others to have some
It’s been a decade since the last general fishing and hunting
license fee increase, and officials say it’s necessary in part to
prevent the Game and Fish Fund from going into the red. At current
levels of expenditures and revenue, that would occur in July of
Known as the “Hunting and Fishing Heritage Initiative,” the
proposal would create new revenues of $6.4 million for fiscal year
2012 and $9.4 million for fiscal year 2013.
“We feel the Game and Fish Fund, and the staff in (the divisions
of) Fish and Wildlife and Enforcement, are the foundation of
conservation delivery,” Boggess said.
The proposal includes several new license options. Some of them
• 90-day resident fishing license, which would cost $18.
• Three-day resident fishing license, which would cost $12.
• Three-day resident small game license, which would cost
Some of the proposed license fee increases are as follows:
• Resident individual fishing license would increase from $17 to
• Resident small game license would increase from $19 to $22.
• Resident firearms deer license would increase from $26 to
• Nonresident individual fishing license would increase from $39.50
• Nonresident small game license would increase from $84.50 to
• Nonresident firearms deer license would increase from $140 to
The fee increase would allow the DNR to do things like fill vacant
conservation officer positions; conduct more creel surveys; expand
shallow lake work for wildlife; and work on new moist soil
Other parts of Dayton’s budget proposal that affect the Fish and
Wildlife Division include a $60,000 per year cut for prairie
wetland grants, and one-time funds of $975,000 in each of fiscal
years 2012 and 2013 for wildlife health.
It’s been clear that public lands will be a major topic during this
year’s legislative session. Two bills heard earlier this week in
the House illustrate the feelings on either side of the
The first, HF 332, authored by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa,
would create a state no net gain of public land policy. If the bill
were to pass, any state acres acquired would have to be offset by
the sale of an equal amount of acreage elsewhere.
There are 17 co-authors of the bill, many of whom are first-term
On the other side of the coin is HF 498, introduced by Rep. Tony
Cornish, R-Good Thunder. It would require “no net loss of state
Reps. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, and Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, are
co-authors of the bill. McNamara also chairs the Environment,
Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee.
Garry Leaf, executive director of Sportsmen for Change, plans to
testify on behalf of Cornish’s bill.
“It’s a good policy to have to make sure we are increasing the
amount of quality areas that are open to public hunting and