Hunters, anglers facing fee increases

Oregon deer hunters can expect to shell out $4.50 more to hit the woods next year, while steelheaders will be paying an extra $13.50 in licenses and fees under a compromise bill to help fund fish and wildlife budget woes beginning next year.

A suite of bills involving the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's proposed $350 million budget for the next two years includes a pared-down version of a fee-hike the agency sought to help settle a $30 million budget gap.

Senate Bill 247, which was a compromise wrangled out of the recent session of the Oregon Legislature, is sitting on Gov. Kate Brown's desk awaiting her signature.

If signed as expected, most of the increases begin next year, then increase again two years later before topping out in 2020, according to the bill.

Resident deer hunters will see their license and tag cost hit $58.50 next year and top out at $63 in 2020, while Oregonians holding a resident fishing license and combined harvest tag needed for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut fishing will pay $73 in 2016 and $90 by 2020.

The resident angling license that this year costs $33 will jump to $38 next year and cap out at $44 in 2020, while the senior angling license will go from $15 to $25 next year and cap out at $29 in 2020.

The adult combined harvest tag needed to fish for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut will jump from $26.50 to $35 next year, then hit $40.50 in 2018 and cap out at $46 in 2020.

The hatchery harvest tag for keeping just fin-clipped salmon or steelhead will jump from $16.50 this year to $25 next year and eventually hit $33 in 2020.

The combination hunting/angling license that costs $58 this year will jump to $65 next year and cap out in 2020 at $73.

The senior combination license that cost $25.50 this year will rise to $41.50 next year and eventually rise to $47.50 in 2020.

Legislators didn't pare down the department's proposals for hunting license increases, though it did reduce the hunting license cost for active service members from $29.50 this year to $16 next year.

The popular Sports PAC collection of hunting and fishing licenses will go from $164.75 this year to $181 next year and max out at $197.50 in 2018.

The annual hunting license that costs $29.50 now will rise to $32 next year and hit $34.50 in 2020, while the senior hunter license will climb from $13.75 now to $20.50 next year and eventually hit $22 in 2020.

Resident deer tags will climb $2 in 2016 and then rise $1 more in 2018 and 2020, while elk tags will climb $3.50 next year to $46 and eventually hit $49.50 in 2020.

For bird hunters, pheasant tags will go from $17 this year to $18.50 in 2016 and eventually hit $19.50 in 2020, while waterfowl stamps will rise $1 next year and another $1 by 2020.

Most nonresident licenses and tags also will increase in 2016.

Dropped from the bill was a proposed $10 annual ocean endorsement tag needed to fish in Oregon's state-run waters within three miles of shore.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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