Higher fees for Hunting Licenses

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Deer hunters 18 or older who live in Wisconsin will pay $4 more for a gun deer hunting license and resident anglers will pay $3 more for an annual fishing license under new fees that took effect today under the final state budget.

License fees directly support state fish and wildlife programs the Department of Natural Resources administers. Wisconsin has 716,000 licensed hunters and 1.4 million licensed anglers. Hunting and fishing generate a $5 billion economic impact in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin hunting and fishing license fees remain a bargain compared to other states,” says DNR Secretary Scott Hassett. “People will be able to continue enjoying time outdoors on the water or in the field, and Wisconsin will continue to benefit from the tourism dollars that fishing and hunting contribute to our economy.”

Resident deer hunters age 18 and older will now pay $24, up from the $20 this license had cost since 1997. A resident annual fishing license increased from $17 to $20.

The cost of an inland waters trout stamp and a pheasant stamp each rose to $10. Stamp fees pay for habitat restoration and maintenance for certain game species. Pheasant stamp revenue also pays for pheasant-rearing.

Two new licenses are now available to help introduce young people to Wisconsin’s hunting traditions. A resident junior gun deer license and a resident junior archery license will cost $20 each for youth aged 12 through 17 -- $4 less than other residents pay for these licenses.

A conservation patron license, which consolidates multiple licenses into one, now costs $165 for residents, resulting in a savings of $86 when compared to purchasing these licenses individually.

Fishing license fees for nonresidents also were increased. An annual nonresident Wisconsin fishing license now costs $50, up $10. A four-day, nonresident fishing license now costs $24, and a 15-day nonresident fishing license costs $28. Wisconsin ranks second in the U.S. for the number of fishing licenses sold to nonresidents.

“The higher fees were needed to maintain Wisconsin’s premiere fish and wildlife programs, which were facing a $20 million deficit in the next two years,” Hassett says. “The old fees – many of which hadn’t been raised since the last decade -- didn’t bring in enough revenue to help conservation programs keep pace with rising operation costs, even though we took many actions to reduce spending and get more efficient.”

To keep a lid on spending, the department eliminated a number of positions, held biologist and warden positions vacant, cut back on pheasant and fish stocking, cut hours at DNR service centers and reduced travel and other expenses in recent years.

“Many hunters, anglers and conservation groups supported fee increases because they wanted the state to continue maintaining fish and wildlife programs,” Hassett says. “We will now be able to do that thanks to their support.”

The DNR produces an annual report on how license fees are invested to support state hunting and fishing. That report can be picked up at DNR service centers or found on the agency’s Web site.

People may buy hunting and fishing licenses from nearly 1,500 DNR-authorized sales agents statewide, from DNR offices, by telephone at 1-877-945-4236 or online at dnr.wi.gov. Updated resident license fees and nonresident fees and stamp prices and related information can be viewed on the DNR Web site.