(02/25/2005)
While DNR hearings are going on to reduce the deer kill in the state, West Virginia sportsmen have rejected a DNR plan to raise hunting and fishing license fees.

The new proposal would increase license fees for both residents and nonresidents, and would allow people to continue purchasing hunting-only or fishing-only licenses.

"The changes we ended up making were changes the public specifically asked for," said DNRs Curtis Taylor.

Taylor said the most-requested change was to allow license buyers to purchase fishing-only license, as a proposed catch-all sportsman's license for hunting, fishing and trapping.

"Nobody looks forward to increasing license fees, and the DNR did everything in its power to avoid one for as long as it could," said DNR Director Frank Jezioro said.

"But after 16 years without a resident license-fee increase, it is well past time for a fee adjustment designed to offset the effects of inflation."

Under the new proposal, West Virginia residents would pay $18 for a hunting-only or fishing-only license, an increase of $7.

The sportsman's license, now $25, would cost $33. The cost of a trout stamp would rise from $7.50 to $10. Antlerless-deer licenses would increase from $8 to $10, but they would no longer be county-specific. Extra-deer licenses, now $10, would cost $15 for bowhunters and $20 for firearm hunters.

The new proposal still would allow officials to eliminate six resident license categories boar, archery deer, muzzleloader, turkey, migratory waterfowl and national forest.

Those licenses would be included in the new $33 sportsman's permit, but there are other variations.

DNR officials want to eliminate the $5 three-day nonresident license and replace it with a $3 one-day permit. The cost of a nonresident trout stamp would rise from $10 to $15.

Increases in nonresident hunting licenses would include a $10 increase in the basic annual hunting permit, a $5 increase in the 6-day hunting permit, a $10 increase in the cost of an extra-deer license, a new $35 fee for an extra-deer permit good during the muzzleloader season, and $5 increases in archery, muzzleloader and turkey stamps.


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