Increased license fees support DNR conservation work

MARQUETTE — Quite a few hunters have told the Michigan DNR they are not happy with the change in deer licenses and fees that took effect this year.

Hunters now must buy a base license for $11 in addition to a single deer or a combo deer license.  The base license proceeds fund conservation work and support the work of conservation officers.

With the new funding, the DNR says it’s been able to fill U.P. job openings, like wildlife biologists, that they had to leave vacant for years to save money.

“We have now filled the Baraga biologist position,” DNR deputy public information officer Debbie Munson Badini said. “We have one in Escanaba now. We hired a tech in Crystal Falls, so we are getting more people out in the field to do that work. Thankfully, that is going to be a trend that’s going to be changing now thanks to the license fee increases.”

The additional license money has also allowed the DNR to make more than a million dollars available for habitat grants this year on both private and public land.

“We definitely are doing what we can with that license fee money to do what we told hunters we were going to do,” Munson Badini said. “We’re going to restore those staffing levels. We’re going to get people in the field in strategic locations to improve our habitat management.”

Deer can still be checked in through the first week of January, since the late archery season is in progress until New Year’s Day and U.P. muzzleloader season hasn’t started yet.