Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex proposes new hunting fee - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex proposes new fee

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HARDEEVILLE, SC (WTOC) -

Beginning July 1, 2014, the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex is proposing to collect a once-per-season, $25 hunt permit fee from any individual wanting to participate in any or all Complex hunts. 

Hunters wishing to participate in any refuge lottery hunt would be required to submit an application for that hunt, and charged an additional $5 application fee. These hunts are held on Blackbeard Island, Harris Neck, Pinckney Island, Savannah and Wassaw National Wildlife Refuges for any or all of the following species: deer, turkey, squirrel, feral hog, and waterfowl.

The Complex currently charges a $15 permit fee to approximately 80 hunters who are selected for any refuge lottery hunt.  In addition to these hunts, the Complex hosts a number of non-lottery hunts for which over 500 hunters currently do not have to pay to participate. 

 All of the hunts, especially those conducted on the barrier island refuges, have costs associated with them  that are not directly funded through the Complex's annual budget.  Eighty percent of the revenue collected from the proposed $25 fee would be added to the Complex budget each year, providing direct financial support for maintaining and improving the hunt program and facilities. 

The additional funding has become even more essential as refuges deal with critical budget cuts. A fee analysis was done by Complex staff to keep fees consistent with those charged by Georgia and South Carolina DNRs for Wildlife Management Area hunt permits.

The Complex is interested in hearing from the regarding the proposed new fee requirement, and will collect public comments through Dec. 13.  Please submit any comments to the Project Leader, Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex headquarters office, via email savannahcoastal@fws.gov, phone 843.784.2468, fax 843.784.2465 or by mail to 694 Beech Hill Lane, Hardeeville, SC 29927.  All comments will be reviewed and considered before a final decision is made on the implementation of the fee.

For more information, please contact the Complex headquarters at 843.784.2468 or visit www.fws.gov/savannah.

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