The Game and Fish Fund Oversight Committee is happy to announce its fund is currently (and is projected to continue) accruing a large balance due to increased revenues from hunting and fishing license fee increases and increased federal aid revenue. The fund balance is about $20 million for 2015 and is projected to reach about $25 million by 2019. The Game and Fish Fund report offers a good chance to discuss planning for the future. It also acts as a tool for the DNR to encourage and foster open communication about the management of the state’s game and fish natural resources.
Hunting and fishing licenses, and stamp and application fees generate roughly 61% of Game and Fish Fund revenues. Federal reimbursements of state expenditures generate about 25% of the fund revenues – primarily from increased excise tax revenues from sales of firearms, ammunition, and hunting equipment.
The Game and Fish Fund spends about $100 million annually. 68% of spending is done by the Division of Fish and Wildlife for managing fish and wildlife populations, conserving aquatic and upland habitats, outreach, licensing of hunters and anglers, and providing recreational and economic benefits associated with fish and wildlife. Another 22% of the fund is spent by the Division of Enforcement for enforcing hunting and fishing regulations, public safety, and hunter education.
The report also touches briefly on the wolf population, which opened up discussion on wolves and the state’s options to fight back against the federal court ruling that placed the wolf back on the protected species list.