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L. Gallagher

MI Gov proposes new license fees

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L. Gallagher

If I were the non-resident, Windy, it sure as hell would slow me down, it would probably stop me cold, particularly if I were not keyed into the best grouse hunting in the state or unable to hunt more than a day or two, like most visiting hunters.

$175 for turkey in Tennessee sure stopped me, I know that, even though they dangled a 5 bird bag...who's got time to take 5 turkeys, unless they can stay a month or plan on shooting them on the roost...

And I disagree about hunters spending a lot of money when they travel. I know a lot of people who travel on shoestrings to hunt, including myself. We camp, or stay with friends, eat out of the back of the truck, and hunt public lands...shoestrings, all the way. Especially with the price of gas what it is...

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Cooter Brown
I'd say $300+ for nonresident, $40 for residents, and free for residents under 21 sounds entirely reasonable.  I doubt those prices would impact participation a bit, and hopefully it would increase DNR revenue for habitat work to improve the hunting.

Seriously?  Nobody I hunt with would pay that.  It would keep me out.  And certainly any younger person I would want to take.  A couple of years ago I bought my nephew's license and 300 bucks would have kept him home.

Bird hunting isn't a low income sport?  No ****.  The way things are going I'll end up with a Border Collie and a Frisbee.

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PWZ
Good lord.  That's a 150% increase for non residents.

I guess one way to think of it is that with all the other costs it's not a huge amount relatively.  But it's still more than another 100 bucks.

If I didn't have a history in MI it would certainly make me think twice if I were planning my first trip north.  And it'll weigh into the decision next season.

I've been expecting an increase but nothing like that.

I usually have licenses in four states and it's becoming an expensive proposition at a time when we all generally agree that we need to recruit younger folks into the sport.

VA did that with their deer license either last year or the year before. It certainly made three of us who planned on going down change our minds.

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caleb
The other--what happened here--involves some analysis of value versus willingness to pay and initial development of a proposal by the game/fish agency itself.  Usually treats non-residents better, while residents sometimes complain that they should soak non-residents like some other states due to keep resident fees lower.

Yes that was a big project coordinated by my co-worker Jen Wical.

Here is a link to some of that work for those interested:

http://www.responsivemanagement.com/downloa....ort.pdf

Skimming through the linked report, it looks like it's all public opinion work.  

Do you know if anyone has done any research on hunter behavior when license fees increase?

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GB Jack
Inflation is crazy right now, big business is paying less, insurance charging more, states demanding more for everything from registration of cars to hunting liscences. Pretty soon, you'll have to make 100k to not be on welfare

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L. Gallagher
I doubt anyone in Michigan's government has, that would require forethought, which I don't think anyone at an executive level in our state government does.

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rosies dad

Actually I think it would be $175.

$150 is the non-resident base then license fees apply after that and it's discussed that small game will be $25.

The resident base fee is $10 so the Mi. resident small gamer will pay $35 as I understand it.

$35 for small game, boy these Republicans (MOTTO-cut costs dont raise taxes) seem to be in a big snit to suck the money out of Everyone.

They are also proposing HUGE increases in Gasoline tax, and vehicle registration.

They already began taxing retirees pensions beginning this year and arent even waiting to see how much money they get before going for more.

Making the "other guys" seem cheap.

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ScottGrush
Actually I think it would be $175.

$150 is the non-resident base then license fees apply after that and it's discussed that small game will be $25.

The resident base fee is $10 so the Mi. resident small gamer will pay $35 as I understand it.

$35 for small game, boy these Republicans (MOTTO-cut costs dont raise taxes) seem to be in a big snit to suck the money out of Everyone.

They are also proposing HUGE increases in Gasoline tax, and vehicle registration.

They already began taxing retirees pensions beginning this year and arent even waiting to see how much money they get before going for more.

Making the "other guys" seem cheap.

I may be wrong on that Dick, Hammer says it will actually drop to $10.

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ANF grousin

And I disagree about hunters spending a lot of money when they travel. I know a lot of people who travel on shoestrings to hunt, including myself. We camp, or stay with friends, eat out of the back of the truck, and hunt public lands...shoestrings, all the way. Especially with the price of gas what it is...

I can say when I travel I spend money, and those who come up to my cabin spend locally.

Pa currently has a 7 day nonresident license for $32.  Anyone that wants to hunt someplace cheaper, just let me know.

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bosco mctavitch

There's a couple of trends in the license fee business.

One sadly seems to keep res fees very low while hiking non-res fees sky high.  This usually comes out of a system where politicians are in charge of fee proposals from the start.  The other--what happened here--involves some analysis of value versus willingness to pay and initial development of a proposal by the game/fish agency itself.  Usually treats non-residents better, while residents sometimes complain that they should soak non-residents like some other states due to keep resident fees lower.

The approach is usually revenue maximization, and with nonresidents I think that's how it should be.  Frankly, I can't think of another defensible policy with nonresidents.  Why should the taxpayers of State X forego revenue they could obtain from hunters visiting from States Y and Z?  I don't think they should because foregoing that revenue shifts the tax burden to state residents.  

The questions then are:

1) Whose revenue should be maximized?  The DNR budget?  The state tourism industry?  The state economy generally?  

2) Over what period of time?  Do they want to maximize revenue this year, or take reduced revenues annually in the hope of encouraging long term participation?

Different states have come to different conclusions about these questions.   For example, ND seems to really discount the value of nonresident hunters by limiting the amount of time they can hunt each season.  Just to the south, SD takes hunting as a tourism driver and really cultivates it.  SD is probably taking in more money for both its DNR and economy, but resident hunters are paying the price through increased hunting competition and decreased access.

I know I've harped on this before, but I think nonresident license fees are way, way low all over the country.  So low that doubling them across the board would have zero effect on participation.  Traveling to upland bird hunt isn't a low income sport.  People who want to caravan around the country to shoot tweety birds can and should pay for all their host states do to promote hunting.

I'd say $300+ for nonresident, $40 for residents, and free for residents under 21 sounds entirely reasonable.  I doubt those prices would impact participation a bit, and hopefully it would increase DNR revenue for habitat work to improve the hunting.

I don't know enough to agree or disagree with much of this, and I dont know what the "right" price is, but it's a great post that makes some of the same points I was just weighing in my mind. Especially the part about hunter access--for a state with a combination of good hunting and a depressed economy I'd seriously worry about losing access to a lot of land through leasing or outright purchase (remember how profitable the pulp industry is right now and for the foreseeable future) or simply dis-incentivizing habitat and relate efforts in everyones home states if policies were too encouraging to out of state hunters.  I appreciate that higher fees could get in the way of introducing a kid to hunting, but I seriously question whether kids will become a hunter on a once a year out of state hunting trip--seems to me that HAS to be done at home if its to be done on any kind of scale.

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caleb

I'd say $300+ for nonresident, $40 for residents, and free for residents under 21 sounds entirely reasonable.  I doubt those prices would impact participation a bit, and hopefully it would increase DNR revenue for habitat work to improve the hunting.

Seriously?  Nobody I hunt with would pay that.  It would keep me out.  And certainly any younger person I would want to take.  A couple of years ago I bought my nephew's license and 300 bucks would have kept him home.

Bird hunting isn't a low income sport?  No ****.  The way things are going I'll end up with a Border Collie and a Frisbee.

Perhaps, and I don't know your circumstances at all, but there's certainly a whole lot of chatter about uber-expensive shotguns and new pickups around here.  I know that's not everyone talking (and it's not me), but it's widespread enough to seem representative.  Taken as a whole, I don't think it would be accurate to call our community poor.

To a larger point, it's not Michigan's job to provide bird hunting for the rest of the country.  I assume their DNR puts a lot of state money into their public lands and management, and I don't think there's anything wrong with them trying to recover as much of that money as possible.  I actually think it's their responsibility to maximize returns for their taxpayers.

You might infer that I have reservations about the whole system of traveling to hunt, and you'd be right.  My basic reservation is that a lack of local upland opportunities has an uneven distribution along the income scale: rich people can travel to hunt, poor people can't.  Which means that upland hunting quickly becomes defined by class.  And if better off people (the ones that matter in politics) can travel to hunt, where's the political incentive to improve things at home?  I think the traveling to hunt system saps the political will for conservation at home, and (to pick a convenient example) perhaps the quickest way to bring back the bobwhite would be to outlaw nonresident hunting and private preserves.  If those options went away I think we'd see some serious political pressure to get our act together in terms of conservation all around the country.

That's not to blame anyone individually for traveling to hunt.  If I lived in an area without birds, I'd do it too.  Yet, on a whole I don't think the system promotes conservation or the equitable distribution of hunting opportunities around the country or within the population.

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bosco mctavitch
Caleb, I'm with you--I dont know what the methods would be or if your ideas would work, but as far as the thoughts you are expressing thats exactly my thoughts on incentivizing local habitat, etc.

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L. Gallagher

Bosco and Caleb...you need to spend more time in Michigan, if you ever have, and start finding out everything you can about funding for our DNR and what they are actually doing for our habitat...besides cutting a little timber-and no where near enough because the timber market is on the floor-nothing.

It's pathetic. I look at what other states, like Minnesota and Vermont, are having their biologists do, and I am blown away. They don't even consider programs like that in Michigan, and never have.

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MTRookie76

There is a breaking point. Unfortunately, MT and ID are finding this out the hard way.

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Cooter Brown

To a larger point, it's not Michigan's job to provide bird hunting for the rest of the country.  I assume their DNR puts a lot of state money into their public lands and management, and I don't think there's anything wrong with them trying to recover as much of that money as possible.  I actually think it's their responsibility to maximize returns for their taxpayers.

You might infer that I have reservations about the whole system of traveling to hunt, and you'd be right.  My basic reservation is that a lack of local upland opportunities has an uneven distribution along the income scale: rich people can travel to hunt, poor people can't.  Which means that upland hunting quickly becomes defined by class.  And if better off people (the ones that matter in politics) can travel to hunt, where's the political incentive to improve things at home?  I think the traveling to hunt system saps the political will for conservation at home, and (to pick a convenient example) perhaps the quickest way to bring back the bobwhite would be to outlaw nonresident hunting and private preserves.  If those options went away I think we'd see some serious political pressure to get out act together in terms of conservation all around the country.

I can see the point you're making, but your making that point as someone who has birds to hunt.

Most years I have licenses in four states just to get my dog into birds.  The 1 1/2 to 2 weeks of hunting in the north gets the dog into more birds than the rest of the states combined.

When I hunt Michigan I hunt National Forest.  I might do better to hunt state land or paper company, but I've hunted NF to this point.  These are federally owned lands that put money through timber sales into the local county tax base and economy.  They also do that through sales of hunting licenses ($ to the state) and ancillary money I spend when there.

Bosco's point about the timber companies is well taken--if the timber companies start to sell off land it could remove opportunities, but the NF will still be there.  To this point unless this bill changes something timber companies allow hunters access in Michigan.  Of course if habitat creation/cutting slows the way it seems to be even on the NF the diminishing bird nos. will keep hunters out as well.

As far as your last point, it sounds awfully pretty and well thought out but I'm having one damned hard time wrapping my head around how it makes any sense.  No amount of political will is going to bring back viable numbers of bobs around here.  At least not short of a general revolution and siesure of huge amounts of private land by the govt. and LOTS of dollars.

And how in the hell making bird hunting the baliwick of the wealthy does anything to promote habitat/conservation I utterly fail to see.  Stop preserve hunting and see who's able to still hunt.

Hell, the FS can't even get any cutting done on the Forest down here.  They're sued every time they do it.

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