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Ask a Conservation Officer: Fishing licenses for military personnel

A day’s catch of crappies spills out of a bucket onto the ice of an Itasca County lake. (2014 file / News Tribune)

Q: My niece is on leave from military service, and wishes to go fishing while she is home. Is she required to buy a fishing license?

A: No. State law in Minnesota makes several exceptions for military members and veterans when it comes to license requirements.

Minnesota residents enlisted in the armed forces who are stationed outside the state and are home on leave are not required to purchase a license, and must only carry their leave papers with them while fishing.

Similarly, a Minnesota resident who has served in federal active service outside the U.S. during the preceding 24 months and is now discharged from overseas duty does not need to purchase a license, either.

And, a free fishing license is available to any Minnesota resident who has a 100-percent service-connected disability.

See page 17 of the current Minnesota Fishing Regulation synopsis for more details, and refer to the upcoming 2018 Hunting Regulation synopsis for similar considerations for hunting licenses and privileges.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Send your questions to outdoors