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License fees for non-residents debated

Some financial ills were healed when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation raised license fees at many levels recently.

Despite drops in license sales during the first year, that fee increase resulted in a 27 percent increase in revenue. While some argued inequities, most non-resident fees were comparable or even slightly below the rates of nearby states.

Tourism folk, especially hunting guides, have been taking a close look and considering one fee that affects not only license sales but also visitor activities -- the cost of a non-resident small-game license.

At $85, the increased fee averages out with nearby states, but guides such as Capt. John DeLorenzo, Niagara River Guide Service, see the need for another level for non-resident small-game license options.

DeLorenzo and many other fishing guides also book hunting trips during open waterfowl seasons. "Especially since this fee increase, we [hunting guides] have seen a drop-off in clients," DeLorenzo said. "We want people to come into town to hunt waterfowl, turkey, upland game for a day or two, but the state only offers a yearly license."

Dale Dunkelburger, Region 9 delegate to the Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB), points out that at $85 the non-resident small-game license is on par with other states and most states adjacent to New York only offer a year-long license at this time.

Guides and tourism coordinators point out that non-resident anglers have an option of purchasing a one-day license ($15) or a seven-day license ($35) as well as an annual fishing license priced at $70.

"Most waterfowl hunters stay two to three days; they can only have a possession limit of two days," DeLorenzo noted. Turkey and upland game hunters generally stay brief periods when hunting. They must buy a year-long small-game license.

Under discussion is the possibility of adding a three-day non-resident license choice to encourage out-of-state visitors to hunt as well as fish. Dunkelburger has received some input on this option. "With all the changes in Albany, license considerations are in a wait-and-see position right now," he said.

To review CFAB discussion of license options, go to: dec.ny.gov/about/566.html and click on "Monthly Meeting Minutes."

To offer suggestions to Dunkelburger, call 434-9268 or e-mail: Dunkster5@aol.com.

e-mail: odrswill@gmail.com

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