New DNR license structure and fees go into effect March 1

Fans of outdoor activities like hunting and fishing will see some licensing changes to be wary of starting Saturday.

Legislation calling for a new license structure for hunting, fishing, and ORV use goes into effect on March 1.

The changes will simplify some aspects of licensing.  All fishing licenses will now cover all species, and the distinction between archery and rifle deer licenses will be removed.

A new multi-license package will also be added as an option for license buyers. The hunt/fish combo will include a base license, two deer licenses and an annual fishing license.

“You’re basically getting four licenses for $76 for a resident,” Department of Natural Resources Deputy Public Information Officer Debbie Munson Badini said.  “Non-residents can also buy this, and they actually get a discount compared to what they would get if they bought those licenses separately.”

“The reason we’re doing that is we know there are a lot of non-residents who either used to live in Michigan and still have property here or who have just bought vacation property in Michigan and they come here during all season to enjoy our outdoors and natural resources.”

License seekers will notice an increase in cost, beginning Saturday.

ORV riders will now have to purchase an ORV trail permit in addition to a license.  Hunters will also need a base license, allowing them to hunt small game, in addition to a specific species licenses.

The Department of Natural Resources said the increased revenue will be used for several improvements to the outdoor experience.

“Sportsman’s groups and ORV groups they went to the legislature and said ‘We want to pay more for our licenses to see more done’, and they knew we couldn’t do everything they wanted because we didn’t have the funding available,” Munson Badini said.

“People may know that we haven’t had a conservation officer in Ontonagon County for a few years now.  And that’s a huge county, and we have a lot of natural resources there, so we really need to fill that position, and this is the kind of funding–especially from the base license, that $11 license–that kind of money is going to help us to fill those CO positions, not just in Ontonagon County but across the state where we’ve had vacancies.”

DNR licenses can be purchased on location, at retail outlets, and some are even available online.

For more details on how the changes will affect your outdoor plans this coming year, visit the DNR’s website.