Wildlife officials say new increased hunting license fees needed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Vidalia – At 4 p.m. on June 27, several hunters and fishers turned around and walked out of Bryan’s Marine and Service.

They left because at 3:59 p.m. Eddie Roberts sold the last outdoor recereation license at the old price.

&uot;I sold one to a guy for $31 and the next one cost $60,&uot; Roberts said. &uot;A lot of people just turned around and left.&uot;

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During a recent special session the Louisiana Legislature increased hunting and fishing fees for residents and non-resident.

Roberts said he has heard a few complaints about the increased fees.

&uot;I know some people were upset,&uot; he said. &uot;But if you pay $60 to fish for the year, then you are only paying $5 per month.

&uot;It’s not really that much.&uot;

Though $5 per month for a non-resident fishing license may not seem much to Roberts, the money those licenses generate is the lifeblood of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries departement, according to department assistant secretary Phil Bowman.

And according to Bowman, that lifeblood was running out.

&uot;We got to the end of the year last year and there was no money left in the state conservation fund,&uot; Bowman said.

The state conservation fund holds all the money used by the wildlife and fisheries department.

The deparment’s sole fund of revenue is from the conservation fund. Money from outdoor license sales, federal funds and oil and gas revenue are the only sources of money for the conservation fund.

The last time Louisiana changed its hunting and fishing fees was 13 years ago, and Bowman said now was the time to change the fees.

&uot;If you look at how much a truck and a boat cost 13 years ago and how much they cost now, you will see why we had to raise the fees,&uot; Bowman said. &uot;Everything a fisherman and a hunter uses for their hobby, we have to have for our job.&uot;

If the fees had not been changed, the state would have been forced to close 18 wildlife management areas throughout the state and cut staff, according to Bowman.

Louisiana residents used to pay $5.50 for a fishing license, now they must pay $9.50. A huntin license was $10.50 per year but is now $15 per year.

Non-resident fisherman will now pay $60 to fish in Louisiana instead of the $31 they paid in the past.

A non-resident will have to pay $200 to hunt in Louisiana a $114 increase from the $86 he paid in the past.