Hunters, Anglers Rallying This Morning In St. Paul

ST. PAUL — Hunters and anglers supporting an increase in hunting and fishing license fees are gathered at the Capitol Rotunda this morning for a rally to salvage legislation stalled in the state Senate.

Hosted by fishing legend Al Lindner, the rally begins at 10:30 a.m.

The proposed  fee hike, which would be the first since 2001, is necessary to replenish the Department of Natural Resources’ Game and Fish Fund, which is projected to go into the red by June 2013 without additional revenue. Money for the fund comes primarily from hunting and fishing license dollars.

Increasing the price of hunting and  fishing licenses requires legislative approval, and a measure in the Senate’s game and fish bill got caught up in political wrangling last week. That’s why hunters and anglers are rallying today.

“This is a user-pay initiative, not a distributed tax, which has full support from Minnesota’s outdoor and environmental groups,” Lance Ness, president of Anglers for Habitat, said in a press release. “Hunters and anglers attitudes haven’t changed. We remain willing to pay our way for quality hunting, fishing and conservation efforts.”