Letter to the editor: Governor veto messes with bear hunt lotteryRecently, the DNR notified bear permit lottery applicants whether or not they received a license.
Recently, the DNR notified bear permit lottery applicants whether or not they received a license. The information is also of great importance to the area’s guides as they find out whether their potential customers will be able to book them. Unfortunately, last year and now this one there are no surplus licenses available for area 22 (the BWCA), which guides relied upon heavily to sign up late customers.
Part of the problem was caused unexpectedly by allowing hunters a second option in the bear permit lottery and then folks not finding out what they got themselves into when hunting the BWCA until after the lottery. Overall, giving hunters more opportunities is a good thing, but the unintended consequence of no surplus licenses when they do not follow through and purchase a license hurts other hunters and guides.
This year a decrease in the number of permits available and an increase in interest in area 22 added to the problem.
To fix it I introduced legislation that would require a hunter that was selected in the lottery to purchase their license before the end of July. Those licenses not used would then be made available to all hunters over the counter and those not selected in the lottery would have the first crack at them. It was a compromise that the DNR and MN Bear Guides Association supported. It would have benefited hunters by giving them more opportunities to get a permit and guides by increasing their potential customer base.
The provision was passed by the House and Senate as part of the Omnibus Game, Fish, and Lands Bill. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the bill over unrelated provisions, still leaving us with the problem. I have already been in contact with the DNR and Bear Guide Association to continue working on a solution. It is my hope to have one in place for next bear season.
From Sen. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake