Illinois Price Hikes

Illinois hunters and anglers can expect to pay significantly more to enjoy their outdoor pastimes in 2010 with Friday's signing of fee-increase legislation by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The measure, which becomes effective Jan. 1, was passed by the state legislature earlier this year.

With the state facing an enormous budget deficit and a Department of Natural Resources with huge financing shortfalls, Quinn and other proponents of the increase said the fee hike was overdue and necessary. The increases are projected to bring the DNR an additional $3 million a year, spokeswoman Stacy Solano said.

The new law raises the cost of a fishing license from $12.50 to $14.50. A deer permit jumped from $15 to $25, and hunting licenses rise from $7 to $12.

"These fees will help the agency's efforts to enhance conservation opportunities, improve quality recreation and bolster efforts to generate more nature-based tourism dollars while also providing the people of Illinois with great outdoor experiences," Solano said.

State Rep. Dan Reitz, (D-Steeleville) who co-chairs the Illinois Sportmen's Caucus, said the increases are acceptable only if used specifically for outdoor, wildlife and habitat programs overseen by the Department of Natural Resources.

"The governor's office assured us that all the money generated would stay in the department," Reitz said.