A study commissioned by the DNR last year found that its annual individual resident and nonresident fishing licenses were low compared to fees charged throughout the United States." The state's other fishing license fees were about average.
Minnesota's deer license fee was low compared to other states, while other game licenses a bit higher and in line with nearby states.
A DNR presentation based on that study said Minnesota's fees would be in the middle of the pack even with the proposed increases.
Vern Wagner, vice president of Anglers for Habitat, said $25 for a fishing license would still be a bargain compared with other forms of entertainment such as taking your kids to a movie and buying them popcorn.
Wagner also pointed out that the DNR already has absorbed substantial cuts in recent years. Many positions have been eliminated, fewer studies are being done and there's less money for stocking lakes, he said. And all of that strikes at the heart of the state's identity, he said.
According to the DNR, around 2 million Minnesotans fish and around 700,000 hunt, generating $3.6 billion in annual economic activity and supporting 55,000 jobs.
"Fishing is synonymous with Minnesota. Or maybe it's the other way around," Wager said with a laugh. "Minnesota is synonymous with fishing."
Department of Natural Resources background on license fees, with links to detail proposed changes: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/heritage/index.html
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