Fish and game management in Minnesota is in big trouble. According to officials there, the funding source --- Game and Fish Fund --- could “go negative” as early as July 2013.
“This means DNR will need to make significant cuts that affect the quantity and quality hunting, fishing, and natural resource protection unless the state legislature approves license fee increases during the 2012 season,” says Tom Landwehr, commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
“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 our children and grandchildren.”
And if you think that now is not the time to raise license fees, you’re wrong. Minnesota hasn’t raised prices since 2001, the longest stretch without an increase in more than 40 years.
In almost every state, license fees provide much of the funding for fish and game management, along with excise taxes collected on fishing tackle and motor boat fuel (Sport Fish Restoration Program) and distributed to the states by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
And for states to qualify for those federal funds, they must have enough money to “match” the amount for which they qualify. In other words, inadequate funding from license fees is doubly damaging.
To learn more about Minnesota’s situation, go here.