State mulls fee increases for licenses

DOVER — DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife will hold a series of public workshops next week on wildlife management and wildlife area user services, and hunting and trapping license fees.

The Division of Fish & Wildlife is considering fee increases for hunting and trapping licenses, along with establishing a Conservation Access Pass to be required for anyone using state wildlife areas for wildlife-associated recreation.

“Hunting and trapping license fee revenues have decreased in the past decade while our wildlife program operating costs have increased, resulting in having to reduce various program operations and services to operate within our budget,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Saveikis. “The potential fee increases would allow us to avoid further service reductions and to restore and enhance our services while providing added value to the public.”

One public workshop is scheduled in each county as listed below:

•Sussex County: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Delaware Technical Community College, Jack F. Owens Campus, William A. Carter Partnership Center Lecture Hall, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown.

•Kent County: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Kent County Administrative Complex, 555 South Bay Road, Dover.

•New Castle County: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center, New Castle.

The Advisory Council on Wildlife and Freshwater Fish will consider the potential increases at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. at DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover. Any fee increases as proposed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife require approval of the Delaware General Assembly before becoming effective.

Potential options include raising the annual Delaware resident hunting license fee from $25 to $39.50 and the annual state waterfowl stamp from $9 to $15. An annual Conservation Access Pass for admission to wildlife areas statewide would cost $20 for Delaware residents and $30 for non-residents.

Delaware’s last hunting license fee increase came in 2007. Each dollar of state hunting license revenue brings in an additional $3 of federal funds to the state to support a variety of wildlife management and hunter access services.

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