Politics & Government

Be ready to pay more to fish and hunt in Washington

A 15 percent hike in Washington state fishing and hunting licenses has been proposed for 2019.
A 15 percent hike in Washington state fishing and hunting licenses has been proposed for 2019. Tri-City Herald File

The cost of fishing and hunting licenses could jump not 5 percent, but 15 percent, next year in Washington state.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recommended the 2019 price increase, but would offer some relief for those who buy several licenses.

The commission, a citizen board that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, on Monday voted to bump a proposed 5 percent increase to 15 percent for recreational licenses.

The larger increase is intended to help eliminate a $31 million gap between projected revenues and expenses in the two-year state budget cycle that begins next July.

The 15 percent increase would mean about $4.40 more for an annual freshwater fishing license that now costs $29.50 for state residents.

People who buy multiple licenses in bundled packages would have increases capped at $7 for fishing and $15 for hunting, under the proposal. More value packages would be created under the proposal.

After the commission agreed to recommend a 5 percent increase earlier this month, a Fish and Wildlife advisory group said that would not do enough to close the funding shortfall.

The last fee increase was in 2011.

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