Followup Bill Cochrane www.Roanoke.com online
During a public comment period, the majority of 269 participants were opposed to the board?s license-increase proposals, most of them commenting through the agency?s Web site. But only once person lined up to weigh-in on the issue at a DGIF board meeting in Richmond Tuesday. That was Leon Turner, former board member from Fincastle, who recommended a smaller increase. The board voted unanimously for the full increase. The additional money will help offset rising personnel and operations cost, officials said.
During the electronic comment period, many participants said the increase in license fees should be offset by allowing Sunday Hunting. The idea was assigned to a board committee for consideration; however DGIF does not have authority to enact Sunday hunting. That is a matter for the General Assembly. Support form the board, however, could make a difference.
Along with an increase in most license fees beginning July 1, the license sales system will become fully automated that day, DGIF officials say. In addition, for the first time, licenses will be valid for one year from the date of purchase. For example, if you purchase a license on Oct. 30, 2006 it will be valid through Oct. 29, 2007.
Saltwater fishing licenses were included in the $5.50 increase.
Many sportsmen purchase multiple licenses, so the increase for them can range from $30 to $50.