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Some Ohioans want fees raised for hunting and fishing license

Posted: 5:41 PM, Apr 06, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-06 17:41:19-04

A grassroots effort urging state lawmakers to raise fees for a handful of hobbies is gaining traction.

It sounds unusual, but some of the men and women who hunt, fish and trap across Ohio want to pay more for the licenses they need to enjoy the great outdoors.

If the Sportsmen's Alliance based in Columbus gets its way, Ohioans will soon be paying $3 more for a hunting and fishing license.

The Alliance told News 5 the move would beef-up the Ohio Department of Natural Resources budget, which will then help improve the quality of hunting and fishing in the Buckeye State.

"The problem is it never goes to where they say it's going to go," said sportsman Terry Mansell.

Mansell is skeptical the money will go toward enhancements like fish stocking and wildlife habitat management.

The Northeast Ohio resident, who has been hunting for 35 years, feels he has not seen a return on his license investment so far.

"We have less game, less places to go hunt game, more restrictions," said Mansell.

Hunters, like Terry's brother, Bill, who lives in Tennessee, would see his out-of-state license go from $149 to $250 under this new proposal.

"I have come to Ohio and hunted several years, paid $150 to hunt deer for a week, but I wouldn't pay $250," said Mansell.

The extra money would help add more fish to lakes, rivers and streams.

"Our stocking programs really need to be jumped up," said Patrick Rowley, an avid angler.

The extra revenue would fund more park rangers to help deter things like snagging and people taking too many fish.

"There are so many people now that don't buy fishing licenses and they're poaching and all that kind of stuff, so a little better enforcement of the rules and stuff would definitely help," said Jessica Macho.

Rowley, like many others, is in favor of raising fees.

It would be the first time in more than a decade.

"I feel $19 is a pretty good amount of money, but I think a couple more bucks wouldn't hurt," said Rowley.

A spokesperson from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources told News 5 the agency is not advocating for any license fee increases.

For this plan to move forward, a member of the Ohio General Assembly would need to introduce a bill. Members of the sportsmen's alliance are trying to make that happen.