A Message from the DNR 27 Mar 12

Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreationalists:

You are receiving this message because you signed-up for hunting and fishing news from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The news I want to share is that the Game and Fish Fund – the fund that pays for conservation officers and a whole lot of game and fish work – is in dire condition. It is projected to go negative by as early as July 2013.

This means DNR will need to make significant cuts that affect the quantity and quality of hunting, fishing and natural resource protection unless the State Legislature approves license fee increases during the 2012 session. In my mind, failure to pass this fee increase will begin the rapid erosion of the quality hunting and fishing you have fought so hard to preserve over recent years—the outdoors legacy we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

If you have an opinion on this matter, I encourage you to express it to your local senator or representative. They are in session. They will listen to you. Now is the time to make a phone call or send a letter or e-mail. You can locate contact information on the Minnesota Legislature’s website at http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/.

The facts are:
Hunting and fishing license fees have not increased since 2001. This is the longest period of time without a fee increase in more than 40 years. The Game and Fish Fund would have gone negative years ago had our agency not made numerous cost-saving reductions and benefitted from an increase in federal assistance (which bridged the funding gap for a short time, but peaked several years ago and is now in decline). Our proposed license adjustments are designed to raise revenue but do so in ways that encourage people to start hunting and fishing while retaining those who already participate.

Virtually every hunting, fishing and conservation organization in the state has voiced their support for increasing fees by a reasonable amount. That’s gratifying. So too is the fact that many newspapers support raising fees, in part because it is not a general tax but rather a specific user fee that hunters and anglers willingly support.

We outdoor lovers are facing many challenges. They include voracious leaping carp, unwanted fish and wildlife diseases, and the loss of habitat necessary to provide high-quality hunting and fishing. In the past, the conservation community has come together to voice its support for what is important. Today, it’s happening again. If you want your voice to be part of this chorus, please contact your lawmaker and share your opinion.
To learn more please visit: http://mndnr.gov/heritage
Tom Landwehr, Commissioner
MN Department of Natural Resources