I am sure most of you have heard that Michigan wants to change the structure of hunting and fishing licenses for 2014. If you haven't, the state has proposed that a few hunting licenses like deer and bear go up by five to ten dollars while fishing licenses go down by a few bucks.
Not a big deal right? Wrong, they also want to force anglers into buying the all-species tag by doing away with the option of not getting the trout/salmon stamp. I usually buy the all species tag because I occasionally target salmon/steelhead so I actually make out but what about the average angler that fishes sporadically during the summer?
Is it fair to charge the guy that fishes for bluegills with his kids off Brandenburg park or Harsen's island extra for a trout stamp? I don't believe so. I could see the occasional angler say screw it and wait until the free fishing weekend limiting his trips. I probably would if I wasn't addicted....
The other part of the deal that has been proposed is to basically tack on the small game license to a hunting license. Again, I buy this annually so it isn't a big deal but what happened to choice? Does the guy from Metro Detroit that goes to hunt camp have to buy a tag to target a rabbit?
The DNR says that this change will add 18 million dollars to the budget to use on more DNR officers and other things like marketing/finance and operations. Are these things necessary? The violators will still violate and most kids will continue to pick video games over the outdoors.
I am not a big fan of this proposal. For one, twenty bucks is way too much to get the right to kill a resource that should belong to all of us. 20 bucks to shoot a doe is almost atrocious... it used to be three. Supporters of the bill would disagree with me though.
They say that Michigan has one of the cheapest hunting licenses. That is fine and dandy but we also have the most deer. Hunting in Michigan is also different. Other states may get away with charging trophy hunters an arm and a leg to target a deer but we don't exactly have a trophy whitetail population. Many people in Michigan value meat over antlers.
These are some of the reasons I am not in favor of the new structure change. Luckily for guys that share my opinion, the Michigan senate just shot down the proposal but I am sure this won't be the end of the debate. The house passed the bill so I am sure with some added pork this bad boy will end up getting passed.
How do you feel about the proposed changes? Are you for or against them? If passed, what should the DNR do with the funds? Feel free to comment below.