– The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission approved proposed license fee increases at its October meeting. The new rules will not be final until approval is received from the Legislative JLCAR committee. Most increases would take effect on January 1, 2016. See a complete list at www.wildnh.com/funding/fg-value.html
Under the approved proposal, regular hunting and fishing license fees would increase by $10. The basic price (not including habitat, agent or transaction fees) for resident freshwater fishing licenses would go from $33 to $43; hunting licenses from $21 to $31; and combination hunting/fishing from $44 to $54. Annual hunting and fishing permit fees for nonresidents, who already pay more, would also increase by $10. One, three and seven-day fishing permit fees would not change. Various miscellaneous permits would also increase, from special permits for taking additional deer to recreational lobster permits.
The final rules included some revisions from the initial proposal. The over age 68 annual fishing or combination hunting/fishing license would cost $5, plus habitat, agent and transaction fee or fees (it was originally proposed to be $10). Over-68 muzzleloader and archery permits would be $2. Over-68 clam and oyster permits would be free, with no additional fees. Resident and non-resident annual hunting and fishing guide permits will both be set at $100. Fishing derby fee changes would take effect in 2017.
Residents who reach their 68th birthday before January 1, 2016, would continue to be eligible for a free permanent license. Permits for turkey, bear and pheasant must be purchased.
The increases were authorized by the Legislature to fill a $1.2 million hole in the Department’s proposed budget for the current biennium. “The Legislature is counting on this new revenue to keep the Department going,” said Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau.
Normandeau pointed out that while costs have gone up over the past twelve years, license prices have not. Basic hunting and freshwater fishing license fees have not increased since 2003.
Four public hearings were held around the state to gather input on the proposed fee increases, but they were sparsely attended. Of the 92 written comments received, “notably, the most common comment was that the Department is doing good work, and the increase is fine,” said Normandeau. A number of comments also came in regarding the first-ever hunting and fishing license for those over age 68.
In 2014, about 121,000 residents and 56,000 non-residents purchased a New Hampshire hunting or fishing (annual or lifetime) license. For more information on Fish and Game’s funding situation, visit wildnh.com/funding