Under the bill, which goes into effect July 1, the state will raise the cost of a basic annual fishing and hunting license to $30. By comparison, South Carolina charges $22 for a comparable hunting and fishing license. Florida charges $32.50.
HB 208 also simplifies and reduces the total number of licenses required to hunt and fish in Georgia. It abolishes certain fee exemptions and creates a more structured fee schedule for anyone wanting to buy a lifetime license.
That includes a new $70 lifetime license fee for senior citizens.
Reggie Dickey, the president of the 5,000-member Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation, said his members have been pushing the agency for more access roads in the wildlife management areas and, more importantly, to hire more game rangers.
Forty-seven counties in Georgia currently are without one. The agency has said the increased fees will help it hire at least 40 additional rangers.
“The increases were a little higher than what we pushed for, but they’re in line with the states around us,” Dickey said. “We understand the reason for it. Nobody likes to pay more for anything, but if we get the benefit of it like they’ve promised, then we’re OK with it.”