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MI Gov proposes new license fees


L. Gallagher

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Long overdue.

I hope they bend the "Buckeye's" over.  :devil:

At more than double the current MI NR license cost, I'd say this is a pretty good start  :D

I try to get in 15 days or so in MI, been doing it every October for the last 14 years and don't see another $100 changing that.

It may stop some guys that typically just go up for a weekend or two, but others (including me) will just grumble and pay the price. It beats the alternative - hunting here  :down:

Roger

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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?

In the linked report on revenue, a 7% loss in quantity of licenses was accounted for.

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uplandchessies
I've been hunting MI for 13 of the past 14 years and I know $150 for a license will bring it to an end. I bring several buddies that just can't afford that much of an increase. Oh well, was telling one of my buddies we should try for spruce grouse in MN and it wouldn't hurt my feelings to spend time in pheasant country instead of the north woods.
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Long overdue.

I hope they bend the "Buckeye's" over.  :devil:

Wow, I sense bitterness, a side I had never seen from either of you two.  Are locals pissed about the influx of non-resident hunters?

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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.

In the early 1970s, the political economist A.O. Hirschman wrote a piece called Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in which he argued that firms (in this case mobile individuals) operating in a declining environment are faced with a basic choice: leave and look for greener pastures, or voice their concerns and try to rehabilitate the existing regime.  Applied to bird hunting, a hunter in a birdless state will "exit" (travel to hunt) if the expected payoffs of that exit are higher than expected payoffs of "voice and loyalty" (working on conservation issues at home).  To frame the issue in terms of costs (since that's what we're talking about with license fees), the greater the costs of exit, the more likely voice and loyalty become because their payoff becomes relatively greater.  While every individual won't behave in an identical manner, in aggregate the greater the costs of traveling to hunt or hunting on preserves, the more people will be willing to put into public hunting (think broadly here: money, political capital, policy tradeoffs, etcetera).

The specifics of shifting resources from travel to local conservation can't, I don't think, be known exactly in advance.  I do know that if you want people to care about conservation locally you've got to minimize the expected payoff of exit (by maximizing its cost) and maximize the expected payoff of local loyalty.  To put it bluntly and crudely, if you can get politically influential people mad about the local lack of public birds and give them no option (travel, preserves) but to fix it, things will get fixed.  Money and property issues are just footnotes when the right people feel like they're stuck.

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Long overdue.

I hope they bend the "Buckeye's" over.  :devil:

Wow, I sense bitterness, a side I had never seen from either of you two.  Are locals pissed about the influx of non-resident hunters?

Not all non resident hunters. Just Buckeyes. :angry:

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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.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but DNR money is mixed in with the general budget in Michigan.  I'm willing to bet a nice bottle of bourbon, this extra money will be helped to balance the budget instead of extra habitat work.  Its politically better to screw out of state hunters then those who get to vote you into office.

Pa is lucky in that our game commission is isolated from the general funds, although many of our elected legiscriminals would like to get at that money.  Plus with all the lands the commission owns, we are reaping extra money from gas drilling that is going towards habitat and more boots on the ground.

Wow, I sense bitterness, a side I had never seen from either of you two.  Are locals pissed about the influx of non-resident hunters?

Come to Pa, we'll gladly help you spend your money :<img src=:'>

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Long overdue.

I hope they bend the "Buckeye's" over.  :devil:

Wow, I sense bitterness, a side I had never seen from either of you two.  Are locals pissed about the influx of non-resident hunters?

Not all non resident hunters. Just Buckeyes. :angry:

And Hoosiers. We get treated like sh!t up there.

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Long overdue.

I hope they bend the "Buckeye's" over.  :devil:

Wow, I sense bitterness, a side I had never seen from either of you two.  Are locals pissed about the influx of non-resident hunters?

I am sure some are Mike but Dave and I bounce around too much for an influx of non-residents to affect our hunting much.......well I used to bounce around a lot not so much the past two years.

And besides we are travelling wingshooters ourselves so we get it.

Personally what I would like to see is unlimited 7 day non-resident licenses say in the $35 range.

Heck Dave and I paid (what was it?) close to $100 to hunt 3 days in NY last year.

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Long overdue.

I hope they bend the "Buckeye's" over.  :devil:

Wow, I sense bitterness, a side I had never seen from either of you two.  Are locals pissed about the influx of non-resident hunters?

Not all non resident hunters. Just Buckeyes. :angry:

And Hoosiers. We get treated like sh!t up there.

Not all Hoosiers just the ones that deserve it.   :oops:

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Not all Hoosiers. Just certain lefthanded, ornery One's. :<img src=:'>

Fwiw, I think $150.00 for a season license is too high. $100 for a season, $50 for a 3 day pass is fair. If I look out of state, those costs wouldn't scare me away.

Edit: Hahahaha, a consensus. :D

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Iowa solved the "DNR money to the general fund" threat over 20 years ago.  Back during the farm crisis years of the 80's, the greedy politicians set their sights on the fish & game trust fund.  Before you knew it, there was a constitutional amendment on the ballot.  That money can only be used for the intended purposes.  Greedy pols have to look elsewhere.

Re nonresident license fees, the various state game agencies need to compare to nearby states with similar opportunities (WI and MN, in the case of MI).  And then maybe, if we're talking small game (which means mainly upland birds), compare to states that attract a lot of nonresident hunters.  In comparison--assuming SD doesn't jump their nonres fees this year--$150 (or worse yet $175 if that's the correct interpretation) would put MI well ahead of a true nonresident "destination" state.  True, you do not get a real "season" license in SD, but you do get two, 5 day periods.  And unless you live somewhere close to SD--and other than the Twin Cities, there aren't any major population centers anywhere close--you probably aren't going to make any more than 2 trips in a season.  Nor stay there longer than 10 days if you only make one trip.

Back when Iowa had enough pheasants to compete with SD, I thought their nonres license--which is for an entire season--was a pretty good deal.  In fact, if you buy a license on or after Dec 15, you get the almost 4 weeks of that season plus the entire following season for one price.  But now that pheasant numbers are in the tank, seems to me the Iowa DNR might give serious thought to reducing that $125 license fee.

On the other hand, some seemingly exorbitant license fees do make sense.  Nonres deer in Iowa is $426, which seems ridiculous--until you remember that Iowa has a bunch of trophy whitetails, and you stand the chance of shooting the monster buck of your life.  When people hunt birds, they're more into numbers--at least seeing them, if not putting them in the bag.  I don't think Iowa can advertise itself as the state where roosters have the longest tails.  Nor would it do them much good if they did.

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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.

In the early 1970s, the political economist A.O. Hirschman wrote a piece called Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in which he argued that firms (in this case mobile individuals) operating in a declining environment are faced with a basic choice: leave and look for greener pastures, or voice their concerns and try to rehabilitate the existing regime.  Applied to bird hunting, a hunter in a birdless state will "exit" (travel to hunt) if the expected payoffs of that exit are higher than expected payoffs of "voice and loyalty" (working on conservation issues at home).  To frame the issue in terms of costs (since that's what we're talking about with license fees), the greater the costs of exit, the more likely voice and loyalty become because their payoff becomes relatively greater.  While every individual won't behave in an identical manner, in aggregate the greater the costs of traveling to hunt or hunting on preserves, the more people will be willing to put into public hunting (think broadly here: money, political capital, policy tradeoffs, etcetera).

The specifics of shifting resources from travel to local conservation can't, I don't think, be known exactly in advance.  I do know that if you want people to care about conservation locally you've got to minimize the expected payoff of exit (by maximizing its cost) and maximize the expected payoff of local loyalty.  To put it bluntly and crudely, if you can get politically influential people mad about the local lack of public birds and give them no option (travel, preserves) but to fix it, things will get fixed.  Money and property issues are just footnotes when the right people feel like they're stuck.

The issues involved with the lack of bird hunting in this area have nothing and I repeat nothing to do with what is addressed in an academic study on economic mobility and cannot be addressed by the same model or mode of thinking, despite whatever merit Mr. Hirshman's ideas may or may not have.  I'm sure it's a nice, pretty theory about making widgets but it has nothing to do with the realities on the ground and in the woods around here.

It surprises me that someone with even a passing interest and knowledge of bird hunting and habitat work would think it does.

Take a look at the Tall Timbers study on the cost per bird for quail management and you'll know that no government can address that.  The number of traveling bird hunters doesn't come close to generating that kind of revenue.  Ted Turner's son hunts wild quail.  Not many others do with any regularity or degree of success.

If you don't want out of state hunters in your covers just say so.  You can work for a law that will keep us out completely and that would be a much more effective way of taking care of that issue than some bizarre notion that keeping us on our own stomping grounds all the time will improve things around here to any degree that would support more than a very few hunters.

Take a look at the RGS model and the fact that most of the money raised by southern chapters goes to work in the upper midwest and NOT around here.  I can assure you there is resentment about that yet many still maintain membership because they hunt up north.  Understand also that Michigan's increased costs will drive more hunters to MN and WI both of which also get good numbers of out of staters.  Hell, MN is even doing ads like the pheasant states promoting non resident hunting.

I drive at least three hours each way for a couple of flushes down here.  Do the math and that's a third of the road time it takes me to get into real hunting.  As I said I generally hold licenses in three southern states and that ain't cheap.  There IS a tipping point and I'm close to it and I'm wondering how long it is before I get to the point that NO state DNR will be getting money from me.

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The issues involved with the lack of bird hunting

I absolutely think bird hunting will follow principles of economics.  Now, the marginal increase to local efforts created by increasing the price of mobility may still not be enough to bring bird numbers back to a huntable level.  I'm not a biologist of any sort, and I don't know how much it would take to bring them back.  I do think there would be some impact, though.  I imagine a resource economist could estimate it fairly quickly given the right data.  I would be very surprised if there were no effect.

None of what I'm writing has anything at all to do with trying to keep people out of my local areas.  I've said loudly and repeatedly on this board that we have plenty of woods and birds for everyone here in Minnesota.  Honestly, there's only one small area of the state where I see out of state plates with any regularity, so it's just not an issue.  (I don't count ND and WI plates as "out of state" since they're more like neighbors.)  In what I'd consider my "home covers," I didn't see a single other hunter all year.  Anyway, none of this has anything to do with trying to protect my local hunting.  If you want to drive up here, I'll be happy to point you to a bunch of good spots.

Back to license fees and costs.  Most of the good outdoor opportunities we still have are directly linked to being a relatively highly taxed state.  We've made the choices to pay for public goods that provide a high quality of life.  We're going to absorb another significant tax increase this legislative session because the majority thinks that's a better option than making cuts and/or selling off public goods.  Other states have made the choice to become low tax states and provide fewer public goods for their residents.  That's their choice, too.  But when residents of those states want to travel to enjoy the public goods in other states, I don't see a problem with asking for a maximal payment for that privilege.  That's not to say "Keep Out," but rather just to say that we pay through the teeth for this stuff and we'd like others that want to enjoy it to help share those costs.

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