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Senate panel OKs increase in fishing, hunting licenses

The state Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee has endorsed a bill to increase fees for fishing and hunting licenses.

The bill would increase the cost of a fishing license by $2, a small game hunting license by $1 and a combination hunting and fishing license by $3. Anglers 65 and older would see a $1 increase.The habitat license each hunter or angler is required to purchase would increase 75 cents to $6 in 1999.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Styler, R-Delta, already has passed the House.

If it passes, only Colorado and Nevada would have higher fishing license fees.

Styler said the increase would put $1.2 million into state fish hatcheries. Much of the money would be matched by federal dollars. He said this would be Utah's first license fee increase in four years.

Part of the small game increase would be put into a federally mandated program to survey migratory bird hunters each year. Another 50 cents would go toward planting pen-raised chukars and pheasants in Utah.

Much of the increase in the habitat license fee would go to paying for hunter and angler access on state school trust lands.