HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – You may soon have to pay more to hunt and fish in Virginia. The Board for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has proposed upping a number of fees and charging for using some facilities.
This proposed change has the potential to affect a lot of people considering more than a million hunting and fishing licenses were sold in Virginia last year.
Right now, a basic hunting or fishing license costs $17 plus a one dollar agent fee. Starting this summer, that price could increase by up to $5 if you live in Virginia and $50 if you live outside the state.
"I go fishing until hunting season comes in and hunting until that goes out in February," said hunter Preston Jarrells.
Preston Jarrells has been hunting and fishing since he was a teenager. It's a pastime he loves to do with his family and friends. Preston says he'll pay the extra, but he isn't crazy about the idea of a fee increase on licenses, especially since he needs so many.
"State license, big game license, muzzle loading license, archery license, floating blind license, duck hunting license, stamp, federal duck stamp - I'm getting a nosebleed now just thinking about it," said Jarrells.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says the fee increases could generate an extra $5 million a year. License fees have only been increased once in the past 23 years. It went up $5 in 2006. Fisherman Clay Bluford remembers it well.
"I just got over the last price increase on fishing," he said.
Clay says he'll still take his little boy fishing, but shelling out an extra $50 when his mom from California wants to tag along will likely be a no go. He expects a lot of folks may fear the extra costs could add up fast.
"With the economy the way it is, a lot of people can't afford to come out with that extra bit of cash," Bluford said.
Game and Inland Fisheries may also start charging a $3 daily fee for admittance, parking and general use at department owned wildlife management areas and public fishing lakes.
If these fee increases do indeed become a reality, they will take effect on July 1st.
For a closer look at these proposed changes and to voice your opinion, you can visit the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.