Fee hike a bad move

Nobody likes to see the cost of their favorite pastimes go up.
Jul 15, 2013

But that’s exactly what Michigan’s hunters and fishermen are facing with the passage of House Bill 4668.

The bill will change the basic structure for the state’s hunting and fishing licenses, including the inception of a $10 base license for hunters, which must be purchased before other hunting licenses for various species can be added on.

The cost of a typical resident deer license will be $20, while a turkey permit will cost $15 and a bear license $25. These are all in addition to the one-time $10 base license.

Currently, a Michigan resident pays $15 for a deer license.

Fishing licenses will also take a big jump. The current cost for a general license is $15, plus a $13 upgrade for those who want to fish for salmon and trout.

Under the new system, anglers will pay a flat fee of $25 for an all-species license.

For the casual angler who only hits the water once or twice a year, the $25 total price tag may be tough to swallow.

To be fair, after the new license fees take effect, the mitten state will still be in the same ballpark as surrounding states when it comes to the cost to hunt and fish.

The money generated by these escalating prices will create an additional $20 million in revenue for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which will use that money to hire more conservation officers and make other improvements.

Hard-core hunters and fishermen will pay the new fees without batting an eye. They realize that license fees support great programs that help make our state such a great place to hunt and fish.

However, there are plenty of casual outdoorsmen who will use this as an excuse not to buy a license and either hunt and fish without one, or choose to quit those activities all together.

In a time when the DNR is trying to get more people, especially youth, into the field and onto the water, a drastic increase in the cost to do so — especially when it comes to fishing licenses — is a bad move.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

 

Comments

Tri-cities realist

I agree, bad move by the DNR, especially since the $20 million in added revenue will never come to fruition. Matt DeYoung, as an avid outdoorsman and editorial board member, please do us all a favor and set yourself a reminder to follow up on this story after the new rates have been in effect for a year and the revenue has been tallied. I will bet just about anything, that the change in revenue will not approach anywhere near + $20 million, my guess is that revenue will remain flat or decrease slightly, due to the reason cited in the editorial, some people will not bother to buy a license if it is cost prohibitive for them to do so. I question whether the intent is to raise more revenue or actually REDUCE the number of people buying licenses, in an effort to marginalize the legitimacy of hunting and fishing. Anyone who has taken economics 101 knows that an increase in price will decrease the demand.

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