Sportsmen and Sportswomen Need to Act now!

Dear Hunting and Fishing Supporters:

 

Despite the support for a modest hunting and fishing license fee increase this legislative session by the Governor, the DNR, the BOC, and over 50 stakeholder groups, nothing positive is happening in St. Paul.  We have attached that list of sign on organizations. Thank you everyone! We are also attached a one-page summary prepared by the DNR that lies out the fund balances and when they go into the red.

 

Legislators claim they are not hearing from their constituents! One told us the letters with sign on names don’t have any impact!

 

Neither the House nor Senate Environment/Natural Resources version of the budget bill

 

 (HF 888)

 

contains any fishing and deer hunting license fee language.

 

To make matters worse, the budget proposed by the Legislature for fish and wildlife management is $5 million per year less than the Governor’s/DNR’s recommendations. This one-two punch will dramatically impact our hunting and fishing quality as soon as this July 1.  And the bills do nothing to address the fact that money for fish and game management will be gone by 2019.

 

The reductions in fish and wildlife management which will begin this summer include 40 fewer field workers (primarily in outstate areas), reduced habitat management on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), reduced access to WMAs due to inability to maintain roads, reduced surveys on deer to aid in meeting deer planning goals, reduced depredation responses, fewer lakes stocked with game fish, fewer lake surveys to better manage fish populations, and reduced work with lake associations and conservation clubs.

 

This is discouraging on multiple levels, since:

*             The need for a fee increase is well documented and has long been known of.

*             The Citizens’ Budgetary Oversight Committee closely scrutinized DNR spending and determined that additional game and fish funds are needed now or fishing and hunting will suffer.

*             The Governor supports a fee increase.

*             Your organization and many others support a modest hunting and angling fee increase.

*             The quality of hunting and fishing will decline without a fee increase and adequate budget.

 

Anglers’ and hunters’ voices are not being heard amidst the larger, louder political budget debate. This is a disservice to sportsmen and sportswomen.  We are willing to fight for imposing higher user fees on ourselves because good hunting and fishing is just that important.

 

Consider this a call to action to SAVE OUR SPORT.  I encourage you to forward this e-mail to your members and friends so they know their interests are not being represented in the Legislature.  Urge them to contact their legislators as well as environment committee chairs Rep. Dan Fabian and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen.  Legislators need to hear that voters expect:

*             A comprehensive fee increase for continued funding of game and fish management, and

*             A two-year budget that maintains current levels of management, not blind cuts to vital programs already holding 46 field positions vacant

 

We need to get calls and emails into:

 

 Rep. Dan Fabian at 651-296-9635 or rep.dan.fabian@house.mn

 

                                                                and

 

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen at 651-297-8063 or sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn Please do this soon.  The House and Senate versions of the bill are now headed to a conference committee which will finalize the bill this month.  Our collective voices need to be heard in the next few days to make a difference.

 

The House and Senate are taking a break for Passover/Easter. They will be home again. Good time to pigeon hole them about the value and benefits of investing in our natural resources, speedily our fish and game.

 

Powerful legislators are telling us that the DNR can wait until next session! Wrong!! If you think the House will pass a fee increase in an election year we have land to sell you!!! Get ‘er done this session. This is the budget year.

 

Thank you in advance for following up on this. Your support is critical and much appreciated.

 

Learn how your license dollars improve fishing, hunting and wildlife habitat and maintain and create outdoor recreation opportunities by checking out this link on the DNR website:  www.mndnr.gov/LicenseDollarsAtWork

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Gary Botzek

 

John Lenczewski

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