Up, Up, Up: WA Licenses Set To Rise

Want to save money? Buy the rest of your 2008-09 Washington fishing and hunting licenses in the next two weeks.

A two-year 10 percent surcharge on sales of recreational licenses, permits, tags, stamps and raffle tickets goes into effect July 26.

And Western Washington pheasant permits will also rise to $35 for youth (up from $19.80), $75 for resident adults (up from$39.60) and $150 for non-resident adults (also up from $39.60) starting the same day.

But before you start shaking your fist at those money-grubbing so-and-sos at WDFW, the fee increases actually came through the state Legislature and were signed into law by the governor this past session.

“While looking for ways to balance the budget, state lawmakers recognized that maintaining fishing and hunting opportunities costs money,” deputy director Joe Stohr said in a press release.  “They also recognize that those activities are an important part of our state’s economy.”

The changes will help offset a $30 million budget cutback at the Department of Fish & Wildlife over the next two years, the release says. The above fees as well as two-rod option for anglers and a pilot Columbia River system salmon/steelhead stamp will help raise $11 million over the next two years, according to the agency.

The surcharge is scheduled to be in effect until June 30, 2011. It’s the “first across-the-board recreational license fee increase in more than a decade,” according to WDFW.

The two-rod option for $20 will be available after managers figure out where to allow it.

The “Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Pilot Program” takes effect next year on the big river and its tributaries, and will be in place for two years.

According to the department, the pheasant fee increase is to “maintain pheasant production for Westside release sites.”

Top it off, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission will now allow license dealers to begin charging a 50-cent handling fee for each migratory-bird permit they issue instead of mailing out those permits. WDFW says it may save them $20,000 per year in staff time and mailing.

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