New DNR Commissioner Suggests License Fee Scale

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

BROOKLYN CENTER (WCCO) — At Capra’s Bait and Sporting Goods, customers know that the cost of a license or stamp is the price of admission to Minnesota’s great outdoors.

“We pay $5 to shoot pheasants or $7 for ducks — what’s the difference?” Said owner Jerry Riege.

That’s why the avid angler is warm to the idea of creating a statewide Walleye stamp, similar to the waterfowl stamps used to raise revenue for habitat improvements. If it makes for better fishing, Riege is all for the idea.

“You pay it the first time and if it helps our sport, it’s a great deal,” Riege explained.

It’s just one of a myriad of serious issues, from increasing revenues to recruitment of young outdoors people, that will certainly challenge the Department of Natural Resources and the man picked to lead it, Commissioner Appointee Tom Landwehr.

“We’re not getting enough kids and other groups involved in outdoor activities,” said Landwehr.

He was speaking at the annual DNR Citizen’s Roundtable taking place Friday and Saturday at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. The roundtable is where 350 conservationists, representing a broad spectrum of outdoor users, can generate ideas and strategies to help guide the DNR in its management duties.

However, balancing recreational demands with the commercial uses for Minnesota’s precious natural resources won’t be easy. The agency is facing a serious shortage of revenue from its game and fish fund. And DNR administrators can’t expect much help from the legislature, which is already struggling to find ways to close a $6 billion budget deficit.

One big problem is that the game and fish fund is spending more than it’s taking in, particularly from the fishing side. The fund is expected to be in the red in just a few short years. Fixing the imbalance between the two will be a major priority to assure stability for hunting and fishing programs.

Paul Schwieters, who was purchasing a lottery permit for the Spring Turkey hunt said, “to take care of the outdoors sometimes, if you’re running out of money, you gotta charge a little more.”

And that could mean higher fees on boats, snowmobiles and ATV registrations to provide the trails programs more money. Hunters, campers and anglers may also expect higher license fees in the near future.

Landwehr suggests the possibility of a “sliding scale” to assure that higher license costs don’t alienate those the DNR is trying to attract to outdoor activities.

“What could we use as a fee for the casual user that wouldn’t discourage their entry versus the really intense user? The person who hunts and fishes everyday!” Landwehr said.

Still, no firm proposals for raising the cost of DNR licenses and fees are being submitted at this time. The last time the state raised the costs of small game, fishing and deer licenses was in 2001.

WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson Reports

More from Bill Hudson
Comments

One Comment

  1. Dirk L Quest says:

    Yeah, great pay more in fees and license so the NAI can gill net everything. How can you control what kind of fish hits your line. Trout is one thing, the state fish is another. How about charging bikes for the use of the bike paths, or hikers fees to use the hiking trails. It appears this state will fee everybody to death from boredom due to not being able to afford the Gas for the boat.

  2. Jimbo says:

    People already are being charged to use many of the state bike trails.

    Maybe the state should look at making a sliding scale according to where a person hunts and how much money is being reinvested into that particular region. Why would I want to pay more to hunt in my area, when someone else is reaping the benefits.

  3. GP BLITZ says:

    Raise licence and stamp so the state can continue to ROB the DNR fund for other state agencies!!!!! BULL CRAP!!!!

  4. Thomas Keim says:

    tax the indians on the amount of fish they take oh yha this is their land well they need to start taking care of it then you reduce the amount of fish you can take and their poluted with mercury and then raise the fees for what so we can poison our self i just go to wall mart and buy my fish the money goes to the philippines where its needed more dnr darn near russian

  5. Thomas Keim says:

    people who fish off the bank shouldn’t need a fishing license and all the home owners who hord the land around the lakes should pay more tax to support the fish in the lakes by the time you buy a boat the bait gas and license you can use that money to feed your family for 5 years

  6. Thomas Keim says:

    so it the dnr cuts their wages then you can reduce the fees for hunting and fishing

  7. david says:

    Senior Citizens can’t even fish for free with there grandchildren in this State. Cut the fees. Don’t increase them.

  8. Marick T says:

    Gawd almighty – we bought it all once, pay every year for ongoing everything and now they want more huh?
    I dunno – I live outdoors and spend a ton on the “toys”. That’s saes tax. Pay licensing fees/ Loads of taxes in gas fees and plates and on and on. Is the goal to make this an available resource for only the 6 figure up people?
    NO MORE TAXES OR the “T-PAW” type no new taxes FEES.
    Stop it dammit. Cease this crap

  9. ThomasY says:

    Gawd almighty – we bought it all once, pay every year for ongoing everything and now they want more huh?
    I dunno – I live outdoors and spend a ton on the “toys”. That’s saes tax. Pay licensing fees/ Loads of taxes in gas fees and plates and on and on. Is the goal to make this an available resource for only the 6 figure up people?
    NO MORE TAXES OR the “T-PAW” type no new taxes FEES.
    Stop it dammit. Cease

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