"We said rather than come back periodically for a huge increase, which nobody likes, let’s connect this to the Consumer Price Index," said Curtis Taylor, Chief of Wildlife for the West Virginia DNR. "We’ll watch that index and if it goes up and calls for an increase in the license of over a dollar we’ll do that, rather than come back in ten years and raise it $20."
The idea of the increase is to help the cost of hunting and fishing license keep pace with inflation.
"It helps us pay for $4.00 a gallon gas. Trout food has gone up 50-percent and we expect it to go up again. Our costs are just like everybody else, they’re linked to the cost of inflation,"
Although hunters and anglers can buy individual license for each activity, the sportsman’s license combines the two at a reduced rate. Sportsman license holders are afforded the privilege for all fishing in the state, with the exception of trout which requires another stamp. The license also allows hunters to hunt small game, spring gobblers, fall turkeys, and kill one buck each in the gun season, archery season, and muzzleloader season. The license furthermore extends trapping privileges and covers the cost of a Conservation Stamp.
"We have one of the cheapest licenses in the nation," said
Since each state’s license structure and hunting and fishing opportunities vary, a true comparison is difficult. However, roughly the equivalent in-state license in
The proposed increase will also affect
"It’s a heck of a bargain and it’s a bargain you can use 365 days a year," said
Even if the new fees are approved, the DNR will still be behind in funding. The proposed changes will have to be considered by the legislature next year. If lawmakers agree to the increase, it would not take effect until 2010. The rate of inflation on which the increase is based will already be two years behind the current rate.
"If they want quality hunting, fishing, and wildlife management areas and want us to buy more land you’ve got to have money to operate. Just like you can’t operate your household, we can’t operate the state’s fish and wildlife without adequate funding," said