NEWRY, Maine — Some big-game registration stations, upset over a $4 fee increase to tag bears, have stopped providing the service in Maine.

For many years, store owners charged hunters $1 to register animals, pocketing the money. The Legislature added $4 to be sent to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to help with funding woes.

State bear biologist Randy Cross tells the Sun Journal some station owners upset with the fee hike have stopped the service.

In the past, tagging stations changed little from year to year, but recession woes are affecting stations and hunting guides. Fewer people are booking hunts.

Hunters cannot keep an unregistered bear, deer, moose or wild turkey at home or any place of storage for more than 18 hours, unless they bag the big-game animal in Maine’s unorganized territories.