State jacking up fees for fishing, hunting

State House News Service
Monday, March 29, 2021

For the first time in 25 years, MassWildlife is proposing to increase its freshwater fishing, hunting, and trapping license fees, a move the agency says would make up for declines in the number of licenses purchased and rising costs that threaten to sap the agency of its primary funding source within three years.

Under the proposal, which will be subject to three public hearings during March, a fishing license for a state resident would increase from $22.50 per year to $40.

The cost of the necessary licenses and permits to hunt bear, turkey, pheasant, waterfowl, small game and deer would climb from $47.70 to $160.

License and permit fees for nonresidents are also slated to go up.

The sale of hunting, freshwater fishing, and trapping licenses, permits and stamps is the primary source of funding for MassWildlife and its Inland Fish and Game Fund, the agency said.

“Periodic license increases are an unfortunate necessity to keep pace with inflation and general costs of living. Unless we act now, the Inland Fish and Game Fund is projected to be out of funds in three years,” the agency said in an FAQ page about the proposed fee changes.

At $160 a year for the full range of hunting activities and $40 a year for fishing, Massachusetts would have the second most expensive rates for residents among New England states.

behind Connecticut (which charges residents $181 a year for the full suite of hunting activities) and New Hampshire (which charges residents $45 a year for a fishing license), according to MassWildlife.

Massachusetts currently has the lowest cost hunting and fishing licenses and permits among the six New England states.

MassWildlife is holding public hearings on its proposal March 9, 17 and 25, and is accepting written comments through its website and the mail.