Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

February 9, 2013

Cost to fish, hunt may rise in Maryland

Via bills introduced at the General Assembly

The Wildlife & Heritage Service and the Fisheries Service, each an arm of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, are asking for more money from the hunters and anglers they serve.

Although different mechanisms are being used, the result is the same. It will cost more to hunt and fish if Senate Bills 619 and 525 are passed and signed by the governor.

The two situations, though, are not all that similar.

Senate Bill 619

The Maryland general hunting license for resident adults has cost $24.50 for 24 years.

In 1987, the cost of a gallon of gas was 95 cents.

This bill proposes to increase the general hunting license to $37.

But get this.

There would be no increase in the cost of special stamps, such as those for hunting deer via muzzleloader or bow.

In addition, not only would there be no increase for junior or senior licenses, but junior hunters would no longer be charged for muzzleloader or bow stamps.

A year ago, a bill that would have increased the cost of the license by $15.50 was defeated in the General Assembly by a vote of 69-62.

Originally this year, the idea was to pump up the license by $20, but an increase of $12.50 was settled upon because members of the Western Maryland Coalition of Sportsmen said a $20 increase would be too much for hunters from Carroll to Garrett counties, according to Lou Compton, a member of the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission.

The bill would create a special fund for license revenue so that it could not be pulled and used for anything other than wildlife management.

Also, the bill would direct fines paid by hunting violators into the wildlife management fund.

This is a good bill. It’s been a long time since the hunting fee has increased and the agency needs the income to continue managing wildlife on a scientific basis.

Senate Bill 525

Although a surcharge is not an increase in the license fee per se, you use the same green money to pay for it no matter what it is called.

This bill would add a $10 surcharge to the cost of a $20.50 resident adult recreational fishing license, bringing the cost to $30.50.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Wait a minute. Didn’t the Fisheries Service increase the cost of a fishing license from $10.50 to $20.50 in 2007?”

The answer to that would be, “Yes.”

Maryland’s attempt to establish a fishing license surcharge is not precedent setting.

Since 1997, anglers in the State of Washington who fish for bass, walleye, channel catfish, tiger muskie and crappie have paid a $5 surcharge in addition to their regular license fees.

The Maryland agency says it would take the new revenue and put it in a fund used for the enforcement of fishery laws and regulations by the state’s natural resources police officers.

Spokeswoman Gina Hunt said via email that only the senior license and complimentary license would not be subject to the surcharge.

Had the cost of a fishing license not recently doubled, I would pause at least long enough to consider my stance on this issue.

But because Maryland anglers have been paying twice as much for six years, the only way I could support this legislation is if bait fishing and the keeping of brook trout are once again allowed in the entire Savage River drainage above Savage River Reservoir. That way, anglers in Almost Maryland would get more for their hard-earned money.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at


Text Only
Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows

    I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Mettiki will once again produce trout

    Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The answer my friend ...

    Recently, the Times-News published
    a photograph of sea gulls that had
    landed on the parking lot at Braddock
    Square Shopping
    Center in LaVale
    My first thought
    was, “If those sea
    gulls landed in the
    Gunpowder River or
    Big Hunting Creek
    on their way here
    from the ocean I
    hope they didn’t have
    felt soles on their
    feet, otherwise they
    will spread rock snot
    to our trout streams
    in Allegany and Garrett counties.”

    March 15, 2014

  • Gobbler stuff can get crazy

    Tough, old bird
    The third gobbler I killed was in 1990 while hunting on Pond Hill near McCoole. Relatively early in the morning I sent out a couple yelp calls. Immediately, 75-100 yards away, what sounded like three gobblers got into a fight.

    March 8, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS Almost Maryland welcomes you back

    If you are a hunter in Almost Maryland, circle Thursday on your calendar so you don’t forget to attend the 7 p.m. hearing at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg that deals with proposed hunting regulations for the next two years.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Gobbler radar activated

    With only 54 days until it opens, the Maryland spring gobbler season is officially on the radar.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Region A buck, doe changes possible

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service, the Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association, the Quality Deer Management Association and the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen have hashed out a new deer hunting concept for Region A, which includes Garrett, Allegany and the western portion of Washington counties.

    February 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Meshach Browning would say ‘Just do it’

    I wonder if it is possible to attach a
    GPS unit to legislation that has been
    introduced at the Maryland General

    February 1, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads