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It isn’t news that hunting and fishing license fees are going to increase in North Dakota.

The news is that the increase could be 15%.

The increase would be an average across all license fees across the board. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department made the request earlier this year and the state senate made its endorsement of the increases.

The request from the state’s agency cited that some of the fees have not be increased for around 30 years. The rates have not kept up with inflation and have now put strain on the agency, which is partly funded by the license fees.

One of the issues with increases in hunting and fishing license fees is the rate of change. It’s difficult for agencies to pass increases and sometimes it can be years before an increase is made. Since years can pass between increases the increases are usually significant. It leads to shock from hunters and anglers when they see a 15% increase on year instead of an annual 1% increase over several years.

Those that love the outdoors understand that fees need to increase with inflation to maintain an effective regulating agency. The issue with the large increase in the fees in one shot could cause an issue with the already delicate hunting situation in the state.

This is a time when new hunters should be encouraged to join the outdoors. Rising rates for fees could further deter hunters today and in the future from spending time outdoors.

It’s an unfortunate situation that needs to be looked at for the long-term. The agency reveals an expected increase in revenue. Laying out a plan for future increases now, spread out across several years would be even better as would a plan for growing the outdoor sporting industry.

We’ll have to wait and see how the fee increase plays out over the next few months.

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