New York to lower hunting and fishing fees


By Joe Moskowitz
On April 1, at least two things are supposed to happen in New York State. Not everyone agrees which is the most important. It’s the first day of the trout-fishing season and it’s the start of New York’s fiscal year. In other words, a new budget is supposed to be approved by then. Sometimes it does happen.

This year, people who fish and hunt may be interested in the budget because Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for a decrease in fishing and hunting license fees. A hunting license would drop from $29 to $22 and a fishing license would go from $29 to $25. In addition a fishing license for a non-resident of New York would cost $100. It now costs $140.

Governor Cuomo says hunting and fishing is an $8 billion dollar industry in New York and more than three million people have hunting and or fishing licenses.

Margaretville Mayor Bill Stanton says hunting and fishing licenses are too expensive and that’s why fewer people are coming here. He says the fees should have been lowered years ago.
Tom Phillips, owner of Pepacton Bait and Tackle says if the fees are dropped it will be “very, very, very, important.” He says it will draw people to the area.

Governor Cuomo also says the lower fees will increase tourism, and he insists it is not an attempt to soothe outdoorsmen who are angered over New York’s new gun control law. Phillips, who also sells ammunition, says if it weren’t for the gun law, we never would have seen the hunting and fishing license fee cuts.

But he has other issues with the State of New York. He sells bait, equipment and rents boats, but he can’t sell licenses at any cost. He says when he opened his business last year, he was told he might have to wait a year-and-a-half for a machine that issues the licenses. This year he was told he might have to wait as long as eight years. He says local Department of Environmental Conservation officers have been very helpful, but upper level officials don’t seem to care about the problems in this area.

He attends meetings with the DEP and local business people and says the DEP “has been absolutely great.”