Hunting Fee Increases | VideoJennifer Joas | 1/18/2013
Whether you`re after wild game or fish, outdoorsman and anglers love the hunt. But in order to hunt, you have to first get a license from the Game and Fish Department. The department is presenting a bill to the legislature that would increase license fees by 10 to 20 percent, to allow the agency to keep providing programs.
"You don`t want to overprice anybody that the casual angler, the casual hunter out there that, they might view this as too much and just not go out. Because it can have the opposite affect rather than generate more revenue, it can generate less revenue," said director Terry Steinwand.
The increase in fees would generate about five million dollars, and a large portion of it would go toward fish stocking and preserving habitat. Sportsmen agree that those are high priorities.
"Clearly the loss of CRP and increased commodity prices are having an effect on wildlife. And I don`t begrudge anybody that wants to make money off of their land. But I think there`s a lot of opportunities to take that 20 percent and do some good things for habitat," said Fargo sportsman Mark Mazaheri.
Several outdoorsmen are in agreement and they support the game and fish department. But some say, the increase should be even more, with an influx of 20 percent across the board.
"Take my money from me and do something good with it. I have no problem paying the freight to enjoy it. And I think we need to help these guys keep pace with inflation and continue to develop the resource," Mazaheri said.
"We can`t expect the game and fish to continue to support what they have been supporting if they don`t have the funds to do it," said Bismarck sportsman Bill Helphrey. "I think it`s needed. They need it. And we`ll support with our checkbooks."
The Game and Fish Department says they believe the proposed increase will be sufficient in continuing their operations and provide sportsmen with high quality hunting and fishing experiences.
The increased fees will apply to both residents and non-residents of North Dakota. It`s been 20 years since the department increased hunting fees and 17 years for fishing fees.