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Virginia License Fee Increase Empty Virginia License Fee Increase

Post  al k on Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:24 pm

I know a lot of you go to or are thinking about going to Virginia for some fishing - they have some very good fishing and it is the nearest trout fish from the Fayetteville / Ft Bragg area. You might think again if the proposed licence fee increase goes through. We can stop it if we pull together.
I need your help to turn around something that effects all of you, non-residents and residents alike, if you hunt or fish in Virginia or are counting on tourism money from hunters, fishermen and others who play in the outdoors. I'm asking you to click on the below link and make your views known. If you have a contact with a newspaper, radio station or political figure you should make them aware of this as well.

Here is the link for comments http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/regulations/comment-funding/expand.asp?VAC=020-065 I think you have to register first by going to DGIF home page and following link on top right and side. Link to DGIF home page is http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/

Here is what I have sent to comment page. (Don’t copy and send this as your comments but it may give you an idea of what the problem is)

I was on the DGIF home page and saw the link to "Proposed Regulation Amendments Pertaining to License Fees and Certain Other Fees ",. http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/regulations/comment-funding/proposed-language/4VAC15-20-65.pdf Once I clicked on the link and read the proposal it hit me right between the eyes and vibrated all the way down to my wallet.

All I can say is, WOW! Are they out of their cotton picking minds. I can understand and tolerate the incremental $5 increases they started a few years ago but what they are proposing now will drive just about every non-resident sportsmen elsewhere. I currently spend $286 to hunt and fish in Virginia. (Basic fish, Trout, Basic hunt, Big Game, Muzzleloader, Crossbow) Their proposal will increase that to $580, which is much more then I am willing to pay. I may be stuck with it for a short time because I own a "get-away" place in Henry County, but I can assure you that if I were looking for that same place today, such excessive license fees would be a deal breaker.

You probably also know that a great deal of Virginia's trout water is visited by non-resident fishermen who already spend $72 for that privilege. Folks who come for short periods currently purchase a $15 temporary license. This will increase to $65. If they want to fish in stocked waters add another $85. These visitors also drop a lot of tourism money in the towns adjacent to the trout steams. In a small way my success as a guide on the Smith River, where I annually placed an average of forty "heads on beds" in local motels, eateries, gas stations, etc, opened the eyes of regional thinkers to the great potential in their backyard. The Martinsville / Henry County area is just now gearing up to benefit from eco-tourism tied to the river. The Waynesboro Fly Fishing Festival and other regional events are doing the same thing in their respective areas. These astronomical increases in fees will "Kill the Golden Goose" and communities that are just beginning to realize the benefits of fishing and hunting tourism will suffer.

DGIF should rethink this proposal. License sales are already down. $65 temporary and $170 annual fishing licenses and $410 or more hunting licenses will cause non-resident sales to plummet. Reasonable increases are acceptable - Gouging is not! What you get with gouging is a ticked off public and less sales because you have reached the tipping point where it is no longer worth it.

al k
Avid Angler

Join date : 2010-10-26
Location : Fayetteville NC

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Virginia License Fee Increase Empty Re: Virginia License Fee Increase

Post  al k on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:22 pm

Breaking News – They are listening!

Last night I received a call from Bob Duncan, Executive Director of DGIF. (We talked for over 30 minutes according to my wife who was holding dinner) He called in response to my original letter of concern which had been forwarded to him by one of his acquaintances.

It was a good conversation. He laid out his reasons for seeking additional funding and I gave my thoughts on what the result would be if they follow through by adding $50 to each category of non-resident license.

According to Mr. Duncan the DGIF will soon be faced with a budget shortfall. There are three ways to make up the short fall:

  1. Reduce staff, programs and services
  2. Ask the legislature to help by contributing money from the general fund (Currently the DGIF operates solely on license fees and distributions from the Robertson / Pittman Fund)
  3. Increase user fees
Increasing user fees is the easiest of the three options because DGIF already has the authority to do so up to $5 for residents and up to $50 for non-residents in each category of license. Mr. Duncan was adamant that this was a proposal only and the final increase would most likely be determined by feedback received during the “open comment” period.

I pointed out that while I thought a modest increase was warranted I thought what was being proposed was way over the top. When confronted with the reality that most sportsmen are required to purchase more then one category of license it soon became apparent to Mr. Duncan that was was being proposed could create a backlash. I also cited recent efforts by many small communities to shore up their sagging economies with increased tourism and that what was being proposed was the equivalent of sticking the DGIF thumb in the eye of these initiatives. Mr. Duncan paused a bit and then responded that this was certainly not their intent.

It was a good conversation. Mr. Duncan was very appreciative of the efforts of TU and other like minded organizations. We closed out by my inviting him to visit the Smith River area at the end of the school year when the Trout In the Classroom programs hold their annual trout releases.

There you have it. Our voice is being heard. Fee increases are on the way. How much of an increase is still up in the air. As I told Mr. Duncan, modest increases are reasonable. What is being proposed is gouging.

There is still time for you to comment on this issue. Letters to newspapers, calls to local politicians and business leaders, emails to DGIF board members and comments on the DGIF comment page will all get their attention. If you're still thinking about it but have not acted yet, the comment period closes April 14th – after that just reach for your wallet.

al k
Avid Angler

Join date : 2010-10-26
Location : Fayetteville NC

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