By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Fresh from Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval of the first hike in hunting and license fees since 1997, lawmakers now want to establish a way to use the $1-per-license surcharge for media and promotion. Their bill would create a Michigan Wildlife Management Public Education Fund to finance a new wildlife council. The council would develop “a comprehensive media-based public information program to educate this state’s general public about the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management and the important role that licensed hunters, anglers, trappers, sportsmen and sportswomen play in wildlife and wildlife management.”
The state will collect the $1 surcharge, which was included in the new fee structure, on base licenses, combined hunting and fishing licenses, and all-species fishing licenses. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates it will generate $1.6 million the first full year. Under the bill, the DNR director would appoint unpaid council members, including active hunters and anglers and representatives of agriculture and of businesses “substantially impacted” by fishing and hunting.