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Hunter, angler wallets to get lighter

Oregon resident fishing licenses will increase $3 and resident hunting licenses will go up $1 in 2020 to help fuel fish and wildlife management in Oregon.

The fee increase is the third and final one since 2016 under a law passed in 2015 by the Oregon Legislature to incrementally add to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s budget.

The latest increases were adopted Friday by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission during its meeting in Ontario. The increases mirror the schedule adopted in 2015 by the Legislature.

A resident angler license will increase from $41 to $44, while the adult combined tag for salmon, steelhead, halibut and sturgeon will rise from $40.50 to $46. That means a typical Rogue River salmon/steelhead angler will see her costs climb from $81.50 to $90 next year.

For hunters, the increases are smaller.

An annual resident hunting license will rise from $33.50 to $34.50, with deer tags rising by $1 and elk tags growing by $1.50. So beginning next year, a resident hunting both deer and elk will see the overall bill rise from $109 to $112.50.

The annual Sports Pac combination of hunting and fishing licenses and tags will rise from $188.50 to $196.50.

The one-day angling and shellfish license will also increase $2 to $32.50.

The combination hunting/fishing license will rise $4 to $73, and the senior combination license will rise $3 to $47.50.

The Legislature chose not to increase the $10 resident shellfish license in 2020, and all juvenile licenses and tags for hunting and fishing also remain unchanged.

The commission also approved rules establishing the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee created earlier this year by the Legislature to mete out money from a new fund to conserve and protect fish, wildlife and their habitats.

The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund will receive $1 million in state general-fund money once ODFW raises at least $1 million in matching money from nongovernment sources.

The bill was based on recommendations by a task force created by the 2015 Legislature to explore alternative funding for fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation. The vast majority of conservations efforts have been paid for here by hunting and fishing license sales as well as federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

The committee will have nine members appointed by Gov. Kate Brown.

The commission Friday set committee representation by regions as required by the Legislature. No members have been appointed yet, and Brown will begin soliciting nominations no later than Nov. 1, according to ODFW. Brown is scheduled to select the committee members in early January 2020.

Language in the law calls for both the fund and the committee to sunset in January 2022.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Brian Winkler holds a 7-pound winter steelhead caught by his son Eric Winkler, left. It was the first steelhead Eric has caught, and it came amid the strongest upper Rogue River return in more than a decade. Photo by Mark Freeman