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Anglers, hunters may face higher license fees as DNR tries to stem red ink

The agency says the state's Game and Fish Fund is headed for insolvency. The Duluth News Tribune reports there may be support in the Legislature to raise fees on fishing and hunting licenses during the upcoming session.
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The agency says the state's Game and Fish Fund is headed for insolvency. The Duluth News Tribune reports there may be support in the Legislature to raise fees on fishing and hunting licenses during the upcoming session.

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Hunters, anglers and environmentalists get behind higher license fees

A coalition of groups are urging lawmakers to raise license fees for hunting, fishing and boating. The fees that support the state's Game and Fish Fund haven't gone up since 2001, and the fund will dip into the red by 2013 without more cash flowing in.

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Governor Dayton signed into law the outdoors bill that raises the cost of a fishing or hunting license in Minnesota. The additional revenue will help keep the DNR's game and fish fund solvent. The same bill authorizes the first wolf hunting season since the gray wolf came off the endangered species list.

Bill raising hunting, fishing license fees arrives on Dayton's desk

The Legislature has approved a bill that raises Minnesota's hunting and fishing license fees for the first time in eleven years. Officials say it will keep the state's game and fish fund solvent. The measure also sets a wolf hunting season, which would begin on the firearms deer opener.

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The agency says it will have to make cuts that outdoors enthusiasts will surely notice. Among those cuts could be upkeep to hunting paths, fish surveys and deer habitat.

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The state's Game and Fish Fund could be in the red by next year if nothing changes, a fact that has some lawmakers looking to raise license fees as they try to scrounge up the cash to fight invaders like Asian carp and zebra mussels.

Minnesota DNR wants lawmakers to raise license fees

Minnesota's fishing and hunting license fees haven't changed in 10 years. The Department of Natural Resources is pushing legislators to raise the fees during the next legislative session. If an increase is not passed, the Associated Press reports there will be deep cuts to popular programs.

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Republican Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen says Gov. Dayton and other supporters have to find the Democratic votes to support the plan or he won't reopen the debate. The bill, which has some bipartisan support, would raise license fees for hunters and anglers in order to keep Minnesota's dwindling Game and Fish Fund afloat and prevent layoffs and other cutbacks. A discussion about the bill ended abruptly after a 39-27 vote to reject it.

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The Game and Fish Fund Budgetary Oversight Committee says they plan to push for the increase during the next legislative session. Without an increase, the Game and Fish Fund -- the collection of fishing and hunting license fees -- is forecast to run a deficit in 2015.