Hunting, fishing fee battle out of hand

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

It’s a battle over fish and deer … and experts are warning the battle may get ugly.

Representatives of Mississippi’s Marine Resources Commission threatened Thursday to raise out-of-state fishing license fees to $110 per season — the same as the newly raised fees in Louisiana.

And Mississippi’s non-resident deer hunting fees could be next — rising to $425 a year to match Louisiana’s new fees.

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That’s the type of talk that makes lots of Miss-Lou residents nervous … and with good reason.

Hunting and fishing are big around these parts … a big draw for tourism, a big business for landowners who offer hunting leases, a big part of the lives of thousands of people in the parish and county. And the increased fees make enjoying that recreational outlet a bit more expensive.

The problem, beyond the immediate concerns of hunters and fishermen who’ll be forced to pay more to take part in these sports, is the need for the wildlife and fisheries departments in both states to generate additional revenue. That revenue is needed to help fund the departments’ and their programs, and in Louisiana the Legislature is looking for the new fees to generate the $8 million needed to avoid serious layoffs.

So what’s a hunter to do?

Well, representatives from both states have indicated they might be willing to compromise … at least to sit down and talk about a fee structure that would be fair and reasonable for out-of-state residents, while helping provide needed revenues.

We hope they can reach that compromise, because the alternative of tit-for-tat fee increases is an embarrassment for both states.