Hunter, anglers prepare for price increase

BALDWIN — Last Saturday and Sunday featured Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan but a recent announcement from the state points out that hunting and fishing will be somewhat more expensive, in some aspects, for Michigan sportsmen.

Michigan’s first significant increase in hunting and fishing license fees since 1997 was passed by the State House on Wednesday and now goes to the Senate where it is expected to be approved. The Department of Natural Resources estimates the increases would raise about $20 million more for wildlife, fisheries and habitat programs, which represents a 40 percent boost. The fee hikes, at the request of Gov. Rick Snyder, would start next March.

The DNR reports that the proposal would create a base hunting license that would charge $11 for in-state residents, with lower rates being applied for youths and senior citizens. Out-of-state hunters would see the price at $151 and the base license would pay for hunting waterfowl, migratory birds and rabbits and other small game.

The DNR adds that tags for deer would rise from $15 to $20, and the bear license from $15 to $25. A 24-hour fishing license would increase from $7 to $10. The fee for a seasonal all-species license would decrease from $28 to $25 for state residents, but jump from $42 to $75 for out-of-state anglers.

Rick Delamater of Baldwin said, like the price of gas, everything seems to be going up.

“I can understand some pricing increases,” Delamater said. “I would rather have them do incrementals over the course of time instead of big jumps. People grumble but they still buy them. I don’t think it will hurt anything, personally.”

John Wolfgang is involved in the Castaways bass fishing tournament that takes place near Osceola County in the Lake area. He is also a hunting guide and wasn’t thrilled to hear the news of the increase in fees.

“I think we’re having a hard enough time getting youth involved in hunting and fishing,” he said.