Hunting, fishing plan stalls
Written by Detroit Free Press   
Tuesday, 06 March 2007 02:50

Plans for steep increases in the cost of Michigan hunting and fishing licenses -- proposed by the Natural Resources Commission and included in Gov. Jennifer Granholm's budget earlier this month -- have been shelved for lack of support, according to state officials.

Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Mary Detloff said Friday that it had become clear that doubling the cost of basic licenses and quadrupling the cost of senior citizen hunting licenses did not have backing in the Legislature.

The NRC proposal, designed to fill an $8-million hole in the department's budget, had no legislative sponsors, Detloff said.

DNR Director Rebecca Humphries said she expects lawmakers and representatives of outdoors groups who are discussing the fees will propose modest, incremental increases.

Under the NRC plan, basic hunting licenses would have increased from $15 to $30; a senior citizen hunting license would have quadrupled from $6 to $24. Various fishing licenses also would have had steep increases.

Opposition to the increases mounted quickly late last year and had a full head of steam before Granholm presented her budget, which assumed $16.9 million in new revenue in 2008 from higher license fees.

In a Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll conducted in late January, the fee increases were supported by 45% of Michigan adults and opposed by 48%. Opposition was most pronounced in northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, areas most often associated with hunting and fishing.

Lawmakers from those areas said response from their constituents to the NRC proposal was overwhelmingly negative.
 
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