The Minnesota Legislature is considering a proposal to increase fees for hunting and fishing by a modest amount before the Department of Natural Resources' Game and Fish Fund runs dry. The last time the fees were increased was 2001, the longest time the state has gone without a fee increase in 40 years. Without an increase the fund will go into the red in 2013.
The amount of increase? Anglers would pay $5 (from $17 to $22) a year more for a fishing license. Small game hunters would pay $3 a year more (from $19 ot $23) for a license, and deer hunters would pay $4 a year more (from $26 to $30).
The DNR uses the money for things like operating hatcheries and stocking lakes and streams; restoring shoreland and native prairie land; educating people about invasive species, like eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels and asian carp, and how to prevent their spread; sending conservation officers out to protect natural resources and conduct education and safety training programs.
Minnesotans love their hunting and fishing, and state outdoor sports organizations are firmly behind this measure.
Rep. Paul Torkelson, however, wants to be sure before supporting such a proposal. He wants to hear from individual hunters and anglers before voting for a fee increase. He wants to know whether they might not prefer fewer services to raising more revenue to maintain and protect their sport.
Outdoors enthusiasts can contact Thorkelson and set his mind at ease about voting for a fee increase by calling 1-888-727-3891, or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.