Outdoors groups back higher fishing, hunting fees

Fishing on Gull Lake
Fishing on Gull Lake in a file photo. More than 60 outdoors and environmental groups are calling on state lawmakers to increase the price of hunting and fishing licenses in Minnesota.
MPR File Photo/Tim Post

More than 60 outdoors and environmental groups want lawmakers to raise the state's hunting, fishing, and boating fees.

They say the move would bring in more money for the state's Game and Fish Fund which is projected to run a deficit next year.

Lance Ness, president of the Fish & Wildlife Legislative Alliance, said the fee change isn't likely to prevent people from fishing or hunting.

"It is an absolute bargain at best," Ness said. "I don't think we disenfranchise people. They are willing to pay it. I think they want to do their fair share. Because they know it goes for good work. They know it goes for protecting those habitats."

John Lenczewski, executive director of Minnesota Trout Unlimited, said a fishing license increase is long overdue.

"Our concern is that the quality of our fisheries and our fishing is at risk here," he said. "That's what it's all about for us. It's all about: How do we maintain the quality of angling in this state?"

License fees haven't gone up in Minnesota since 2001. Under a proposal from the state's Department of Natural Resources, the cost of a deer license would rise from $26 to $30. An adult fishing license would increase from $17 to $24.

A Senate committee is holding a hearing on license fees Tuesday afternoon.

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