Tuesday, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation authorizing important changes to Michigan’s hunting and fishing license structure, simplifying the license options for outdoor enthusiasts. These changes reduce the overall number of licenses by almost 90 percent. The new structure will provide vital additional revenue for wildlife and fisheries habitat, conservation, outreach work and law enforcement.
Under the new structure (which takes effect March 1, 2014), anglers will no longer need to choose between Restricted and All-Species licenses, and hunters will now purchase a new “base” license. Key reasons noted by Snyder for the new license structure include;
- Effective management of Michigan's natural resources
- Providing a variety of opportunities for easily accessible outdoor recreation
- Ensure that current and future generations can enjoy hunting and fishing in Michigan.
House Bill 4668, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead, is now Public Act 108 of 2013. Highlights of the new law include:
- A reduction in the number of hunting and fishing licenses from more than 200 to just 42
- An anticipated $18.1 million in additional revenue in the first full year of implementation (the Department of Natural Resources will use these funds to improve fish and wildlife habitat, hire more conservation officers, and provide better outreach and education to hunters and anglers.
The additional revenue mentioned above indicates a substantial fee increase from current license prices. At present, a 2013 unrestricted resident fishing license is $28.00. While I've heard estimates of $40.00 per annual resident license thrown around, it appears that the Michigan resident annual license has dropped to $26, while the same license for a non-resident has jumped from $42 to $76. For more info, you can see the fishing license fee structure here.
DNR Director Keith Creagh said the new license structure will help keep Michigan’s costs competitive with other Great Lakes states.
“This improvement to Michigan’s hunting and fishing licenses is great news for our customers and for the natural resources we work hard to protect and promote,” said Creagh. “Moving from more than 200 licenses to just over 40 will create a purchase experience that is simpler and more efficient for residents and visitors."
“Michigan is known for its world-class natural resources. With this revenue and working with our partners, we’ll be able to maintain and improve those resources for current and future generations.”
Under the new structure for hunting licenses, hunters – both residents and nonresidents – will purchase a new “base” license. The license will allow hunters to hunt small game and purchase additional hunting licenses for other species. Funds generated will be used to improve habitat, create hunting opportunities, conduct more outreach with hunters, and bolster law enforcement.
More information on how the additional revenue will be invested can be found on the DNR website (see What You Get: More Bang for your Buck). A list of new hunting licenses – effective March 1, 2014 – can also be found on the website.
Anglers will no longer need to choose between Restricted and All-Species fishing licenses. All licenses, beginning March 1, 2014, will be All-Species licenses. Revenue generated will be used to improve habitat, increase lake surveys and conduct more outreach with anglers. Learn more about how the additional revenue will be invested on the DNR website (see What You Get: Casting for the Future). The new fishing licenses – effective March 1, 2014 – can be found on the DNR website.
A similar license restructuring bill, which governs the restructuring of off-road vehicle permits, was signed in July. That legislation – HB 4669 – became PA 75 of 2013.
These license and pricing options take effect March 1, 2014. Costs and options for the fall and winter 2013 seasons remain unchanged.
To learn more about the upcoming changes, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.