Local hunters, anglers question increased fees

As if a fee increase for hunting and angling licences isn’t bad enough, what’s most irking some locals is that non-residents won’t face a similar jump.
“I’m not happy with [the increased fees],” noted local hunter Murray DeGagne. “Why are residents being targeted and not non-residents?”
Shawn O’Donnell, president of the Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club, acknowledged non-resident fees went up last January but added he would like to see them go up again.
DeGagne also isn’t happy the fee hikes, which take effect in January, came without warning–and without the input of anglers and hunters.
“The big thing is they just implemented [the increase],” he charged. “Where’s all the input? They’re just throwing it at you.”
But Pat Kennedy, chair of the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Board, noted Ontario’s fishing and hunting fees for residents have not changed since 1993.
“Even with the new fees, these licences represent excellent value,” he argued. “The advisory board is in full support of this move to increase funding for essential resource management programs.”
As reported in Monday’s Daily Bulletin, Natural Resources minister John Snobelen said the new fees will generate more than $5 million annually in additional revenue for the management of fish and wildlife populations and their habitat.
“This new revenue will help us keep pace with the latest advancements in such areas as research, law enforcement, and customer service,” he pledged.
“All revenues will go into the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account and ensure effective management of Ontario’s fish and wildlife resources for the future,” he added.
All fees, royalties, and fines collected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act go to the Special Purpose Account, and are used exclusively for fish and wildlife management and for conservation projects.
Fish and wildlife research and monitoring, enforcement involving flying patrols and canine units, fish stocking, and the reintroduction of wild turkeys and elk are examples of the programs that will benefit from increased revenues, Snobelen noted.
But not everyone is convinced. While admitting Ontario’s fees are reasonable compared to other provinces, O’Donnell said this new money is simply replacing the revenue loss stemming from the cancellation of the spring bear hunt.
He also argued the Special Purpose Account report should be made available to the public on an annual basis, noting the last one came out three years ago.