GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 16, 2014) — For the first time in close to 20 years, the Department of Natural Resources has raised the cost of hunting, fishing, and off-road vehicle (ORV) licenses in Michigan.
The DNR says it consolidated more than 200 licenses to 42 and expects $18.1 million in revenue from this year’s sales alone. As of March 1, all fishing licenses are all-species; the annual resident license costs $26, two dollars cheaper than before, but this effectively ends the $15 restricted-species option. The 24-hour license increased from $7 to $10; the 72-hour license increased from $21 to $30; and the senior annual license is now $11 instead of $11.20. Overall, the greatest hike is the non-resident annual license at $76, up from $42.
“This is one of the most underrated fisheries in the world here in the United States,” said Roy Phillips, a life-long angler. “It’s just great.” For 70 years, fishing has been a constant for Phillips. He says he loves the relaxation of it. He casts from a pier along the Grand River about three times a week.
Phillips predicts a bountiful fishing season, which is just weeks away. And from the looks of the anglers’ catch on the river with him this weekend, he may be right. A father and two sons caught at least six two-foot long steelhead trout.
“It’s fun to catch them if you haven’t done it, because they’re fighters,” said Hunter Stevens, a first-time angler who had just caught two steelheads.
These local anglers say they support the price hikes.
“It’s not going to affect me going out or deer licenses,” said Jim Stevens. “I like seeing a little more money going back into the DNR anyway.”
In turn, the DNR says it will use these funds to improve fish and wildlife habitat, hire more conservation officers, and educate the public.
As of March 1 all resident and non-resident hunters must buy a base hunting license; this allows license-holders to hunt small game, and then purchase additional licenses if needed.
Annual ORV licenses (off road vehicle) are now $26.25. Any ORV riders using state designated trails will pay an additional $10 per year as well. The DNR says this extra revenue will be used to add miles of trails, improve safety, and then inspect and maintain these roads.