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MI Gov proposes new license fees


L. Gallagher

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Several different ways to look at it:

One way (that is often cited in support of diversity consideration in policy and hiring practices) is that hiring people that are considered a minority helps to increase their visibility in a profession and entice more people from that same minority to hunt, fish, and get introduced to the outdoors.  

Another way is to look at their hiring as an opportunity to introduce fresh ideas and a look at problems from a different perspective than the majority might.  

If sportsmen (and women) want habitat and places to enjoy our pursuits to continue, we need to have people who manage that reflective of the general population to some extent, I believe.  So much of what happens to natural resources--good and bad--has it's origins in the voting booths and legislatures.

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Several different ways to look at it:

One way (that is often cited in support of diversity consideration in policy and hiring practices) is that hiring people that are considered a minority helps to increase their visibility in a profession and entice more people from that same minority to hunt, fish, and get introduced to the outdoors.  

Another way is to look at their hiring as an opportunity to introduce fresh ideas and a look at problems from a different perspective than the majority might.  

If sportsmen (and women) want habitat and places to enjoy our pursuits to continue, we need to have people who manage that reflective of the general population to some extent, I believe.  So much of what happens to natural resources--good and bad--has it's origins in the voting booths and legislatures.

Windy:

That is well stated and builds on the thoughts that I started in my last post.

Jay

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I have read some but not all of the posts in this thread.  I also do not pretend to be as knowledgable as some on the sibject of funds dispersal and so forth, but here is my take.

It seems that many states have within them a natural resource that is being exploited or out of staters are being charged a premium to enjoy.

For instance Iowa, Illinois and Kansas are known as big buck states and many out of staters flock there for the chance at a once in a lifetime tree cow.  Iowa's deer tag is over 500.00 and it can take up to 3 years to accrue enough points through their tag draw in order to hunt certain zones, especially in the south central to sout east portion of the state.  If you want to just buy a preference point that will cost you close to 60 bucks each year.  Meaning that by the time that you are able to hunt that tag may cost the hunter as much as $700.00.  There is not a ton of public land in this area so hunters are also paying for a guide most times.

In Illinois the last time that I deer hunted there the tag cost $475.00 and that was in 2007.  Michigan is not a destination state for many deer hunters, but what we do have is the Great Lakes and we are known for Grouse and Woodcock, although there are no birds in MI.  Non resident hunters are able to find accomodations at a more than reasonable rate and they have the ability to hunt endless amounts of state and federal land.  I do not think that the state taking advantage of this resource is a bad thing.  Especially if the funds are allocated the right way.  

This may be off base from where this thread has been going, but it is just my take on things.  People will still come here to bird hunt, fish, and vacation

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I've only read a couple of pages on this thread but from my perspective a 150% increase is wayyyyy out of line. I think with an election year less than 2 years away that point will be made loud and clear or at least the learning experience will be reenforced dramatically.
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Dan, you have remember that North Dakota gets a Grade F for political corruption.

The ND legislature is primarily composed of elderly white ultra conservative men. They have no love and certainly no respect for the  ND Game & Fish Department. Science is a dirty word here. So the legislature refuses to use 1 cent of any ND tax money for the Department. Yet tourism is the third largest industry. The total costs and benefits of wildlife management are based on license fees in ND. On top of that the ND legislature is constantly raiding the NDGF account by amending in non-wildlife related budget items for "special" projects.

Is this thought to be primarily caused by the major population centers (Fargo, Bismark/Mandan, Dickinson, etc.) overwhelming the wishes of rural ND?

No that is not the case with wildlife management. Political hacks getting a payoff.

Our NDGF had an opening for a deputy director, who was a wildlife professional of long standing and had retired. He was replaced with a party zealot who had lost his re-election bid in the state House, and who had zero experience in wildlife management. In fact, this individual was one of the biggest opponents of public hunting, NDGF, USFW, any other outdoor org., and the Public Trust Doctrine. But he was a loyal party member.

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As far as future employees, when you consider the long-term declining trends in per capita hunting and angling participation it doesn't surprise me one bit that there are less young men and women entering the natural resources field that come from a hunting family/culture or hunt themselves.

I'm sorry to have to break the news but we hunters are becoming increasingly less relevant to society as a whole and although this concerns the heck out of me, we shouldn't be surprised if this decreasing relevance is reflected in the future makeup of natural resource agency focus and staff.

Jay

Jay, if the "nonconsumptive" types are entering the field and they want their activities to get a fair share of the revenue pie, then THEY are the very people who ought to be putting out the message to the hikers, birdwatchers, etc that they have been riding on the coattails of hunters and anglers--"freeloading" might not be too strong a word--for far too long.  And if they want more of the DNR's attention focused on them, fine.  Pony up.  They can't get by with "well, we're taxpayers, so we deserve . . . "  Bull.  Hunters and anglers are also taxpayers, and we also pay a whole bunch on top of that for licenses.  And we also donate a whole bunch through hunting and angling organizations, and those groups often partner with the DNR in land acquisition.  I'm thinking in particular, from my Iowa background, Pheasants Forever--an organization you know well.  Iowa has a bunch of counties (99), but it has more PF chapters than counties!  Some of the smarter nonconsumptive types are getting it.  I remember a birding show on the local NPR station down in Ames when the subject of hunting came up.  Two Audubon guys being interviewed by the host.  One of them said:  "I don't hunt, but I'm on the banquet committee of the local Pheasants Forever Chapter."  The host, a bit taken aback, asked why a nonhunter would be involved with PF.  Answer:  "Because they do the best local habitat work of any conservation organization."

That's the kind of cooperation we need.  Similarly, Audubon was right there with us (RGS in Iowa) when we supported the DNR's plan to start doing far more intensive habitat management on their timbered areas in the grouse range.  The DNR used grouse and woodcock as the "poster birds" for the need to create young forest habitat.  Audubon knew that type habitat was critical for a lot of nongame birds as well.

Unfortunately, a lot of nonconsumptive users can't get those things through their heads.  "All this money going to buy public hunting areas!"  Yeah, and we hunters are just as pleased as they are when we see more nongame birds and animals using those areas, as well as pheasants.  We don't kick the tweety birds off the land bought with our money.  Often our money twice or more over, if PF is also involved in the purchase.  Most DNR's get very little in the way of tax dollars.  License fees are critical, but they can't be raised so high that we end up killing the goose that lays the golden egg--because apparently, most of the ducks haven't yet figured out that hunters get the attention they do not only because of numbers, but because of MONEY.

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I've only read a couple of pages on this thread but from my perspective a 150% increase is wayyyyy out of line. I think with an election year less than 2 years away that point will be made loud and clear or at least the learning experience will be reenforced dramatically.

Frequently not considered by the states are the side effects of raising license fees.

Several years ago Tennessee dramatically raised their fishing license rate for non-residents to $81 a year for trout.  I had been making three trips a year to TN - one a group camping trip where I spend only about $50 in the state plus two trips with my wife where I spent $750 - $1,000 on each trip.  The increase pissed me off to the extent that I only make the $50 group camping trip with a $33.50 three day license - since the increase I've not made the extra two trips each year which costs TN $1,500 to $2,000 in tourism revenue.

Short sighted stupidity.

NC's annual non-resident license is a reasonable $40.  NC now gets Tennessee's $1,500 to $2,000 of tourism revenue.

Yes, I am a bull-headed SOB but it's my right and TN does not get my tourism dollar.

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How much of this is federal land? I have bougt non-res tags to hunt elk in states out west to hunt national forest land, and it pissed me off to see the price difference. As a taxpayer, I owned those lands as much as the residents. I understand that the state govs had some say in the maneagement of them, but I am part owner!! Same way with national forests in the great lakes ststes.
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WI Brookie Guy

How much of this is federal land? I have bougt non-res tags to hunt elk in states out west to hunt national forest land, and it pissed me off to see the price difference. As a taxpayer, I owned those lands as much as the residents. I understand that the state govs had some say in the maneagement of them, but I am part owner!! Same way with national forests in the great lakes ststes.

I live in Minnesota and own property in Wisconsin and I'm subjected to the whims of their nonresident license fees...is how is that different?  In fact, I pay taxes in 'sconnie and they have over 1.5 million acres of national forest land within the state...and I don't have a voice.  But that comes with the territory of being a nonresident.

BTW, I'm all for reasonable, incremental increases in license fees and I do believe nonresidents should pay more than residents to use their resources, but not to the extent that Michigan is considering or what some individuals here have suggested.

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Lets see some budget numbers.

A summarized budget of current spending showing that all fees collected from hunting licenses are ALL going to support hunting related activities

Since there is a proposed license increase, there also has to be a proposed budget to spend that money.  Again, lets see that summarized budget to prove all that new money will be spent wisely ONLY  on hunting related activities.

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Lets see some budget numbers.

A summarized budget of current spending showing that all fees collected from hunting licenses are ALL going to support hunting related activities

Since there is a proposed license increase, there also has to be a proposed budget to spend that money.  Again, lets see that summarized budget to prove all that new money will be spent wisely ONLY  on hunting related activities.

Here is the copy of the proposed Budget that I received, hope it comes out, I converted it from PDF.

GovenorsBudget2014-2015forDNR_Page_1_zps

GovenorsBudget2014-2015forDNR_Page_2_zps

GovenorsBudget2014-2015forDNR_Page_3_zps

GovenorsBudget2014-2015forDNR_Page_4_zps

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Flychamps, that fishing license increase in Tennessee must have been about the time they raised the non-res turkey hunting fee to $175, so I'll bet that was an across the board increase, too, just like MI is proposing. I haven't hunted Tennessee since.

Brad - a good part of Michigan is federal forest land. Maybe as much as a quarter or an eighth...most of the UP and northern lower is federal forest land.

Lucky Dog, although this budget was just proposed last week, they already have to revise it, as the City of Detroit rejected the DNR's offer to clean up and run Belle Isle. Stupid, incredibly stupid, but they did. That's Detroit for you.

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LD, all I'm seeing is money lumped together to be spend depending how the political winds swirl.  There is no detailed budget just for fees collected from hunting licenses and how that money is spent?  Without such a budget, there is now way to predict that increased license fees will be used for for better habitat for game animals.
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Never has been, ANF. That's the way Michigan and the MI DNR do budgets...question them further, and they'll show you a pie chart with "administration" taking up the bulk of the budget.

I hate to be so negative about where these increases would go, but after 30 years of watching the State of Michigan and the MI DNR decline, I am doubtful that we're about to see any huge improvements. I know SHF is very confident about the money being spent on things like new COs and dredging, but I think the majority of us Michiganders who have heard and seen all of this before, with both Republican and Democratic administrations, will believe it when we see it.

Our last positive moves on the part of Michigan's conservation came in the 80's. Nothing of merit since then.

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