Licenses: Let those who use the DNR pay
Written by The Daily News   
Wednesday, 18 January 2006 16:22

Outdoorsmen and women flock here from near and far. In particular, Michigan is a haven for those looking for a quality hunting and fishing experience. Enjoying that opportunity soon may cost a few dollars more.

On Friday, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission announced it was forming a work group to recommend increases in hunting and fishing license fees. Budget problems may force the state’s hand in raising the charges.

We have no problem with hiking the prices. License fees go directly toward supporting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), whose costs are increasing while funding isn’t. The department faces an $8 million budget shortfall right now.

But the best argument is with the shooters and anglers themselves. Many think nothing of laying out a couple of thousand dollars for guns or gear, then paying $15 for either a deer hunting license or fishing license. That’s a tremendous bargain, one whose time for adjustment upward is overdue.

Sure, outdoors enthusiasts and the state’s tourism industry are likely to complain about such increases, but the fee structure hasn’t changed much since 1996. And look what they’re getting in return.

As Bill Malloch of the Upper Peninsula Whitetails Association said, "I believe the sportsmen of Michigan will pay more if they have a good product. We have to keep things affordable but we also need to have a good product."

A good product? Yes.

Affordable? By all means.

Michigan is doing a lot of things right when it comes to managing its hunting and fishing programs. It requires all hunters born in 1960 or later to complete a hunter safety course before being eligible to apply for a hunting license. That’s good.

And the DNR does a bang-up job policing those groups. That’s good too.

It’s time for those who enjoy hunting and fishing in Michigan’s great outdoors to step up and do their part in helping support the DNR.

 
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