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Washington hunting, fishing licenses could increase 15 percent

Washington's Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed a 15 percent increase to licensing fees for recreational fishing and hunting next year.

Licenses in Washington to fish and hunt could see a 15 percent increase next year. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed the increase to close a $31 million funding shortfall.

An annual freshwater fishing license costs $29.50, while the saltwater license is slightly higher at $30.05. Annual hunting licenses vary depending on the animal. The fee to hunt deer, elk, bear and cougar cost $95.50.

Fish and Wildfire has a breakdown of all current license fees online.

WDFW said the commissioners voted for the increase on Monday after advocates on the WDFW budget and policy advisory group said the previously proposed 5 percent increase would not close the shortfall.

Washington residents would save money by purchasing bundled packages. Increases would be capped at $7 for fishing and $15 for hunting.

"The commission never likes to propose fee increases, but WDFW needs better funding to meet public expectations and ongoing legal requirements," Chairman Brad Smith said in a press statement released Tuesday. "Knowing we have the support of key recreation and conservation leaders enabled us to improve the balance of our funding request between general tax dollars and revenue from license sales."

The fee increase, the first since 2011, will be presented to Governor Jay Inslee in September.

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