Vern Wagner

When Vern Wagner is not tournament bass fishing or teaching kids to fish, he can be found roaming the State Capitol working on fish habitat and fishing legislation.

Rally at the Capitol featuring Al Lindner on Monday

Posted by: Vern Wagner under Fishing Updated: April 19, 2012 - 6:37 AM

You’re invited! Hunters, Fishermen & Women, Conservationists and friends of the Outdoors will be gathering at the State Capitol Rotunda Monday April 23rd at 10:30 a.m. to support a Hunting and Fishing License increase. Al Lindner, renowned angler, fishing tackle innovator and sportsman's television and radio personality, will be the fearured speaker.

It is not often that folks gather together and demand to pay more for fishing and hunting licenses. But this is actually what Minnesota's Hook and Bullet community wants to do. WHY?

The answer is simple, license fees have not increased in over 12 years and the Game & Fish fund will be running on empty by 2013. So the time to act is now. The DNR has been belt tightening for many years due to budget cuts and rising inflation. There is no room to make any more notches in their belt, without a fee increase they will need a tourniquet to survive the pending cuts.

 Add your voice to the call for State Legislators to approve hunting and angling fee increases that will preserve recreational opportunities and provide funding to fight invasive species.  “This is a user- pay initiative, not a distributed tax, which has full support from Minnesota’s outdoor and environmental groups” said Lance Ness, President - Anglers for Habitat. “Hunters and anglers attitudes haven’t changed. We remain willing to pay our way for quality hunting, fishing and conservation efforts. ”Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is in dire straits. Fisheries, wildlife, and enforcement programs have been cut to the bone, and now core programs and services are threatened. Many anglers and hunters mistakenly believe that legacy, RIM and lottery funding can be used to replace Game and Fish Fund dollars in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ budget. “A license fee increases equal to the cost of two dozen jumbo leeches or the sighting in of a deer rifle are affordable for everyone who hunts or fishes,” said Jim Lilienthal, former DNR Fisheries staff and Board Member AFH.  Surveys and research from current and past license holders found that customers are willing to pay for the license privilege, and license cost is not a deterrent to youth participation in hunting or fishing. Individuals and groups need to contact their local representatives and senators and demand support and passage of these USER FEES now.  “Call, email or write your local legislators FIRST, and plan to attend the rally if we don’t get action on the license fee increases and adequate funding for AIS management programs,” said Ness. Asian Carp and other AIS threaten our Minnesota outdoor heritage; the problem is real and action is needed. It isn’t true, as many believe that it doesn’t matter if we do anything because they are coming anyway.  “We need to slow them down in the short term in order to buy time for research and management to control or eradicate them in the long term,” Ness said.  The steps and costs being taken to control the spread of Zebra Mussels are necessary to protect Minnesota’s lakes and watersheds.  Support needs to come from more than just Lake Associations and Environmental Groups. "We as Minnesotans need to join together and make our voice known.  Minnesota needs to develop an adequate long-term funding source for AIS projects and research that doesn’t affect funding of current fish and wildlife management responsibilities. WE NEED FOLKS TO STEP FORWARD NOW.”

While HF 2171 was tabled this week by a Senate vote, there is still time to make it happen.

Come and Rally with us! Bring a sign, make a statement!

“Don’t move a Mussel”  “Fee Fie Foe Fum No Fee Increase Would Be "REEL" Dumb!”

 Vern Wagner, VP

Anglers for Habitat

 

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